In Brief


New villas at Al Ain Rotana
The Al Ain Rotana Hotel has announced the completion of an additional 10 villas, providing new levels of accommodation and facilities.

According to Pierre Zayoun, general manager of the hotel, the new duplex villas offer luxurious 3+2 bedrooms laid out over two floors. Each has a parking space, a fully equipped Kitchen with dark wood cabinets, a marble guest WC on the ground floor together with the lounge area that walks out onto the garden terrace and poolside. A marble staircase leads to the upper level, where there are two ensuite bedrooms and a 3rd smaller bedroom. The hotel has 110 suites, rooms, poolside chalets and villas and six F&B outlets.

Abraaj, Isthmaar launch project
ABRAAJ Capital and Bahrain-based Ithmaar Bank has announced the launch of The Serai Group, a joint-venture between the two parties with the objective of developing and managing an international chain of Middle Eastern-themed Sharia'h compliant hotels. The joint venture will be capitalised with $500 million of equity to be partially funded by Abraaj and Ithmaar and will be domiciled in Bahrain. The Serai Group is set to structure three distinct brands: Caravan Serai, Serai Hotels and Grand Serai. Across all three categories the group will distinguish its properties on an architectural and functional level, to evoke the cultural aura of the Middle East.

Sheraton launches new web community
SHERATON Hotels & Resorts has announced the launch of the new – the first hotel industry website to embrace social media and feature user generated content. Designed as a global community that consumers can belong to, the new site invites visitors to share stories, tips and photos about their best travel finds, destination favorites and passion for travel. It is part of the brand’s promise to move beyond merely transacting with customers to instead providing meaningful experiences to support the Sheraton brand’s positioning around warm, comforting, connections.

Coral Beach Rotana wins HolidayCheck
THE Coral Beach Rotana Resort - Hurghada, one of Rotana's flag-ship resorts by the Red Sea, has recently been awarded the HolidayCheck Award for the highest recommendations by guests for the 2005 season. The award is the first real consumers' award of the travel industry, said a statement. It was based on more than 60,000 hotel reviews submitted to HolidayCheck in the course of the 2005 season.
The 294-room hotel is set in a prime location on the shores of the Red Sea overlooking the magnificent Hurghada reef.

Chedi Muscat has free wireless Internet
THE Chedi Muscat has announced that it is to offer high-speed wired and wireless Internet access to the property.  Working with its service partners, it is able to cater to its guests' a fast and reliable Wi-Fi access.  The service is up and running throughout the property and offers easy access in the lobby, restaurant, meeting room and guest rooms. “The Chedi Muscat is dedicated to enhancing all aspects of a guests' experience. Whether traveling for business or for leisure, keeping guests' connected is necessary in today's travel environment,” says York Brandes, general manager.

Sharjah opens new Holiday Inn
THE InterContinental Hotels Group has welcomed its first guests at the newly opened Holiday Inn Sharjah, the latest addition to the group’s expanding UAE portfolio. The hotel is ideally situated in the heart of Sharjah’s central business district, 15km away from Dubai airport and 20km from the Dubai World Trade Center and provides leisure guests with a variety of nearby shopping options, including three major shopping malls. Guests can also take advantage of the shuttle service provided to access the beach, 2km away. It boasts an inventory of 139 spacious studios and 41 beautifully appointed one- and two-bedroom apartments, and conference facilities with state-of-the-art video, audio and telecommunications equipment for corporate guests.

Hilton Vienna plans Arab surprises
THE Hilton Vienna has announced special services for its Arab customers. In co-operation with the well-known Libyan restaurant, Al Gebra, the Hilton Vienna will offer an Arabic menu in all its outlets this summer, and its al fresco restaurant, S’parks will also offer an Arabic dinner buffet.A special Arabic room service menu will also be available 24 hours a day, as well as a dedicated area for guests to enjoy authentic Shisha. The hotel’s first floor houses a playroom packed with Playstations on flat screens, pinball machines and other recreational games. The spacious outdoor playground, which sits in the Stadtpark adjacent to the hotel, is an added highlight for children.

London Marriott offers spa packages
RELAX, refresh and feel revitalised is the message from the London Marriott Grosvenor Square which has launched exclusive one night spa breaks in conjunction with Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door Spa, located just seconds’ walk from the hotel. The spa is an oasis of calm in the heart of Mayfair and London Marriott Grosvenor Square will pre book both accommodation and spa treatments for guests. Packages begin at £235 ($435) per room per night including treatments for two people.

Marco Polo opens new lounge
The Marco Polo Hotel in Dubai has announced the opening of the Arabian-themed Polo Lounge for the exclusive usage by its Executive Club members. Sunil Marya, vice president and general manager for Marco Polo Hotel, said: “My team and I have always thought of setting up a very exclusive area for our Club floor guests.Our Polo Lounge is private and restricted solely for Executive Club floor guests. It is manned round the clock by our friendly and attentive club floor staff who are available to assist guests to ensure that they relax in total comfort with unobtrusive service. The lounge is a Wi-Fi zone where guests can get instant internet connectivity and can work hassle-free, best of all it's free of charge. Happy Hours are from 6 pm to 8 pm daily. Guests are served unlimited premium beverages along with sumptuous pre-dinner snacks and nibbles.” Guests with room reservations on the executive floor are entitled to unlimited club access and use of the lounge facilities. There is an attached breakfast room where a deluxe hot buffet breakfast is served from 6 am to 11am daily.