TROTTINGS = Trip Jottings

The Fox Trots: Travel Stories from The Fox.


January 3 2014

Accommodating Luxury.

Updates* on hotel companies from the ILTM trade show in Cannes last month:



Anantara, Thailand-based.

-Part of Minor Group. Started only in 2001 and already 26 hotels. Opened seven in 2013; five due this year.

-Minor has 100 hotels in group. Other brands are Avani, Elewana, Oaks, Per Aquum.



Banyan Tree, Singapore-based.

-33 properties, including Angsana, its still-unsuccessful second brand. Plans to near-double in the next five years – to 63 resorts.

-The company is 20 years old this year.



Como, Singapore-based.

-Opened Phuket last November. Next are Maldives (2nd; due end of last month; owned, which is unusual for Maldives) and first in North America, Miami (Metropolitan, due this month). That will give it 12 properties.

-Moving away from destination driven to activity driven.



Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong-based.

-Getting further on its plan to be recognised as best luxury hotel group in the world. No precise measure for this; company says various measures.

-Has 45 hotels; plus 17 under construction and development. Opened in Guangzhou and Shanghai Pudong in 2013. Taipei due this year, plus resorts in Morocco, Turkey.

-Also has 13 ‘Residences by Mandarin Oriental’ next to its hotels. These are different from the serviced apartments it manages.

-No plans yet for a points-and-prizes loyalty program. But, aware that it needs to ‘recognise’ guests, has started Global Guest, where it can register guests’ interests.

-It offers free hi-speed internet access in rooms. In each hotel the guest can connect six devices.

-21st century luxury with Oriental charm.



Peninsula Group, Hong Kong-based.

-Anniversaries this year – 85 years Hong Kong, 25 years New York, 15 years Bangkok.



Regent, Taiwan-based.

-Next, Montenegro. At present the resort is heavily seasonal (summer), but as more hotels open, the season might expand.

-Developing a sub-brand. It has used what it calls the old-style Regent (big lobby, big shopping, flash) for certain secondary cities.

-Formosa, owner of Regent, has several other businesses, including other hotel brands – one called Silks and Silks Place, and a 1-star brand called Just Sleep.



Relais & Chateaux, France-based.

-515 hotels, down from 520. New destinations – Croatia, Dominican Republic, Latvia, Mauritius, Russia, Turkey.

-Wants to expand but no actual number. Wants growth in all emerging markets, but particularly Asia Pacific, then Latin America, Russia.

-Has added Portuguese for websites; now six languages.

-This year is 60th anniversary.

-Despite its international growth, R&C is using an all-French promotion – Routes To Bonheur. Meaningless to most non-French, but symbolic to French as it was the name given to the R7 road from Paris to happy-holiday times in Nice.

-R&C’s CEO says the company has banned the word ‘luxury’ because it wants customers to first recognise “authenticity” in its hotels. At the same time, R&C chairman (elected; the CEO is a staff appointment) said the word had not been banned!



Ritz Carlton, US-based.

-Now half of its 85 hotels are outside US.



Rosewood, Hong Kong-based.

-Opened in London in 2012 after spending US$137mn (£85mn) on refurbishing the existing building.

-Using personalities, such as ex-US secretary of state (foreign minister), Condoleezza Rice, to talk about their favourite Rosewood hotels. Similar theme to Mandarin-Oriental’s fans promotion, but with more action. Also as MO, Rosewood gives a donation to charity. It decides the amount, which it will not precise more than “considerable”.



Six Senses, Thailand-based.

-For new developments, the design element may be stronger. SS says when it took over, customers told it that the design was a little-too ‘flintstone’ – “maybe more design, less timber”.

-Company is “about reconnecting people to themselves, family, and world. We want to leave something behind in the world. Doing something good for guests, staff, and communities where we are.”

-It believes it can change people’s lives.



Small Luxury Hotels, UK-based.

-Has 520 properties in 70 countries.

-Strong 2013: 311-315mn roomnights; US$344 average room rate.



Starwood, US-based.

-When Starwood founder Barry Sternlicht launched W it was for people like him – rich, young, etc.

-“The four Clarins sisters party in W Bogota (Colombia) is today’s equivalent of a dining room of a transAtlantic steamship 100 years ago.”

-“Luxury ain’t niche; it’s the new mass.”

*Different reports on these companies have run in the Net Value report, the ZERO report, the Asia Pacific and Europe editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, and on



The Fox