March's top stories: Hyatt's fifth Dubai property, Apple Pay in Marriott US

Hyatt Hotels has opened a new Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights hotel in Dubai, which is its fifth property in the city, while Marriott International is set to create complete mobile-powered travel experience for its guests with the introduction of Apple Pay. Hotelmanagement-network.com wraps-up the key headlines from March 2015.


Hyatt

Hyatt Hotels opens fifth property in Dubai

Hyatt Hotels opened a new Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights hotel in Dubai, which is its fifth property in the city.

The 464-room hotel is near to the Dubai International Airport, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Wafi City, The Dubai Mall and Dubai Healthcare City metro station.

The group plans to open its sixth property Hyatt Place Dubai/Baniyas Square later this year.Each of the six properties is developed by wasl Asset Management subsidiary, wasl Hospitality.

Apple Pay comes to Marriott's US hotels

Apple

Marriott International is set to create complete mobile-powered travel experience for its guests with the introduction of Apple Pay.

The service will be launched initially in the US and will include brands such as The Ritz-Carlton, EDITION, Renaissance Hotels, and Marriott Hotels.

The mobile payment and digital wallet service by Apple lets users make payments using the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch-compatible devices, iPad Air 2, and iPad Mini 3.

To use the service, guests simply need to bring their devices near the contactless reader at the front desk during check-in.

Ashford acquires stake in Highland Hospitality portfolio for $1.7bn

US-based Ashford Hospitality Trust completed the acquisition of the remaining 28.26% ownership interest in the Highland Hospitality portfolio from its joint venture partner Prudential Real Estate Investors (PREI) for around $1.7bn.

Ashford already has a 71.74% ownership interest in the 28-hotel Highland Hospitality portfolio.

The deal was first announced towards the end of 2014.

Ashford Hospitality Trust chairman and CEO Monty Bennett said: "Since acquiring a majority interest in the Highland Portfolio almost four years ago, these high-quality assets have significantly exceeded our original expectations.

Marriott to add 2,700 Moxy hotel rooms in Europe by 2016

MarriottMarriott International unveiled plans to add 2,700 Moxy hotel rooms in key cities of Europe by the end of 2016.

Marriott intends to sign for about 4,200 rooms alone in this year, with a goal of 150 Moxy hotels and 25,000 rooms by 2020.

The announcement was based on the successful launch of Moxy Milan Malpensa in Italy in September 2014.

Marriott International Europe president and managing director Amy McPherson said: "The launch of Moxy Milan was a defining moment for the brand; its first hotel in a gateway city that has met with widespread approval.

"We expect that the next few years will show significant growth, helping to build brand presence so travellers can familiarise themselves with a new affordable design hotel concept. We look forward to the future and what it brings for Moxy."

Global hotel prices rise by 3% in 2014

Hotel prices paid by travellers globally during 2014 increased by 3% compared with 2013, according to the latest Hotels.com Hotel Price Index (HPI).

At the end of 2014, the global HPI stood at 113, 13 points higher compared with its launch in 2004 and on par with its level for 2008.

Hotels.com brand president Johan Svanstrom said: "Although the Index rose again last year, it is still way behind its peak of seven years ago, which is great news for consumers."

Graves Hospitality releases new airport hotel renderings in Minneapolis

US-based Graves Hospitality released concept renderings of a new luxury hotel to be developed at the Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport.

The company has secured approval from the Metropolitan Airports Commission to own, develop, and manage the new 300-room hotel, hopes to enter a 40-year ground lease on the parcel adjacent to the US Postal Service facility located on the roadway to Lindbergh Terminal.

Graves Hospitality president and CEO Benjamin Graves said: "The hotel's positioning offers the best of both worlds.

MGM Resorts breaks ground on $800m casino resort in downtown Springfield, US

MGMHospitality firm MGM Resorts International has broken ground on the new casino resort in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts, US.

Developed with an investment of $800m, the new mixed-use project MGM Springfield is expected to be opened in the third quarter of 2017.

MGM is developing the project in partnership with Davenport Properties on land currently occupied by the damaged South End Community Centre and Zanetti School.

Siege at Somalia's Maka al-Mukarama hotel in Mogadishu ends

A siege at Maka al-Mukarama hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, which was rocked by explosions carried out by Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab militants ended with 14 people dead.

According to a senior government official, Somali ambassador to United Nations Yusuf Mohamed Ismail Bari Bari was also killed in the gun battle that took place at the hotel.

Information minister Mohamed Abdi said the dead included five civilians, four hotel guards and four government soldiers.