In Brief

Burj wins award
Burj Al Arab has been ranked the best hotel in the world in the Institutional Investor magazine’s 23rd annual survey of the world’s best hotels.

Hilton launches scheme
DUBAI: Hilton International Middle East Asia Pacific (MEAP) has launched the Hilton HHonors Event Planner Programme, a scheme designed to drive the hotel group's meetings and events business by rewarding event planners with both HHonors and airline miles.
Rudi Jagersbacher, vice-president Arabian Peninsula at Hilton International, said: 'The meetings and events business is a fast-growing segment and contributes significantly to the Hilton business mix. Our strategy is to grow this segment further by constantly improving our products, motivating event planners and sales teams to choose Hilton via the Hilton HHonors Event Planner Programme.'

Ritz manages Portugal resort
LISBON: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, announced today that it has assumed management of one of Europe's leading historic resorts in the Estoril coastal region of Portugal. The picturesque property is being relaunched under Ritz-Carlton management as the Penha Longa Hotel and Golf Resort and will undergo a major $20 million enhancement beginning 2004, adding more guest rooms and suites and a world class spa by spring 2006. The resort will remain open and will mark the fifth

Shangri-La to open property
CAIRNS: Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, Asia Pacific's leading deluxe hotel group, announces a new management agreement with the Australian property investor Huntercorp Pacific to operate a 256-room five-star hotel in Cairns, north Queensland.
Following a major renovation in excess of A$25 million, the Radisson Plaza Hotel at the Pier, Cairns will be re-positioned and re-branded as the Shangri-La Hotel, the Marina, Cairns from mid-2004. 
Hotel firm plans $2.6m
Gulf Hotels Oman Company, which operates the Crowne Plaza Hotel, is planning to raise RO1 million from the market, a report said.
The Financial Corporation (FinCorp) is acting as the financial advisor for the company, an Oman Daily Observer report said.
The financial instrument could be a rights issue, a private placement, a debt instrument or even a term loan from financial institutions, sources said, adding that the company has already informed the proposal to the Capital Market Authority (CMA).

5-star status for Dubai Hotel
Dubai: Shangri-La Hotel Dubai, which opened its doors in July 2003, has received its official five-star classification from the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
The hotel, located in an impressive 200 metre, 43-storey tower complex on the Shaikh Zayed Road, features 301 spacious rooms and suites all beautifully appointed in warm, earthy tones with modern conveniences.

New supply source for hotels
DUBAI: A company that promises to supply hotels and restaurants from under one roof has opened its warehouse in Al Quoz in Dubai.
Direct Hotel Supplies (DHS), created by the founders of Orsini Middle East, a company specialising in sourcing and customising hotel operating equipment, says it aims to help its customers save time and money.

Radisson refurbishes Saudi hotels
RIYADH: Radisson SAS Hotels and Resorts has refurbished its three Saudi Arabia properties in Yanbu, Jeddah and Riyadh.
Rezidor SAS Hospitality, parent group of Radisson SAS Hotels and Resorts, which operates 12 hotels in the Middle East, plans to almost double the number of its Middle Eastern properties in the next two years and grow to a total of 700 worldwide within the next 10 years, including 11 new regional hotels by 2005.

Hilton to open Doha hotel
DOHA: Hilton International has announced the appointment and signing of a 15-year management contract to open and operate a new Hilton Hotel in Doha, Qatar. The 320-room property will be the first Hilton hotel in Qatar and will be operated on behalf of New Doha Hotel Company.

Marriott acquires Hawaii hotel
DUBAI: The Marriott International presence in Hawaii will grow in 2004 with the addition of a moderately-priced Courtyard by Marriott hotel on Kauai as a result of a franchise agreement with the Presidio Hotel Group, a northern California-based firm that specializes in developing and managing full-service and focused-service hotel properties in the United States. 
The Presidio Hotel Group recently acquired the 312-room Coconut Beach Resort at Waipouli, Kauai. Value of the transaction was not disclosed. 

Steamboat in Dubai
DUBAI: The Grand Hyatt Dubai has launched an Asian 'Steamboat' promotion at their South-East Asian restaurant - Indochine specialising in Vietnamese, Thai and Cambodian cuisine.
Steamboats, also referred to as 'hot pot', are the perfect winter meal and the outdoor terrace at the restaurant is ideal to enjoy the cooler nights. Steamboat is also a healthy and fun way to dine, involving the diner to cook a selection of raw and fresh ingredients in boiling broth on the table. 
'Steamboats, although a fairly new concept for the Dubai dinner circuit, has already proven to be successful,” said Vincent Hoogewijs, executive assistant manager - Food & Beverage.