Leading Hotels group in GCC roadshow

Leading spa: Al Maha Desert Resort

HOTELS from 16 countries will be taking part in a series of roadshows this month organised by The Leading Hotels of the World, aimed at providing the regional travel trade with special rates and packages for the key summer sales season.

The prestigious luxury hospitality organization currently boasts more than 430 member hotels and has just celebrated one year of operation at its regional office in Dubai, where sales have increased by more than 50 per cent in that period.
According to director of sales, Michael Lutze, around 90 per cent of business comes through the travel agents, and he said the two annual roadshows are vital in introducing new hotels and promoting seasonal packages to the trade. “Agents are vital partners for us, and our member hotels are increasingly taking advantage of the opportunity to boost their relationships around the region by joining the Leading Hotels roadshows in spring and autumn,” he says.
Among the participants this May are hotels in London, New York, Vienna, Madrid and Amsterdam; resorts in Italy and Thailand; new properties, including the Banyan Tree Desert Spa & Resort in Bahrain, which is scheduled to open this year; and summer favourites in destinations ranging from St Moritz and Biarritz, to Estepona and Perthshire.
The roadshows will visit four cities in four days, taking place immediately after Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, and will begin at the Four Seasons Doha on May 7, moving to Kuwait (Sheraton, May 8), Riyadh (Al Faisaliah, May 9) and Jeddah (Hilton, May 10).

Leading Spas announced
The alliance has just released the list of hotels that have qualified as Leading Spas for 2006. “Of the 106 hotels that applied for certification for 2006, 87 passed the rigorous, anonymous inspection process and have been accorded Leading Spa status for the coming year,” says Paul McManus, president and CEO of The Leading Hotels of the World. “An extraordinary interest has been expressed in Leading Spas by the travelling public and the hotels, as well as hotels and resorts that are not among our members.”
Attractive new products and programmes are being developed, including Leading Spa Weekend, Leading Spa for Two, and Leading Swing and Spa, a collection of golf and spa packages.
Among the hotels to make the list for 2006 are Hotel Martinez in Cannes and Le Meurice in Paris, Mont Cervin Palace in Zermatt, Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa in Dubai, and The Biltmore Hotel in
Coral Gables. New spas from the Middle East include the Oberoi, Sahl Hasheesh and Le Residence des Cascades, both on Egypt’s Red Sea, and, the Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa and the Residence & Spa at One&Only Royal Mirage, both in Dubai.