AHIC: Hotels are the new trophy product

Luxury lifestyle hotels are entering the realms of fast cars and high-end retail to become the latest status symbols, according to a panel of experts discussing ’ The Future of Independent Luxury Lifestyle Hotels in a Consolidating Environment’ at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference.
“The retail and car companies have been focusing on the luxury market for years - encouraging consumer to incorporate luxury goods, brand names and the ‘trophies of success’ into every aspect of their daily lives. In the hospitality industry there have always been luxury hotels; however, more and more properties are incorporating components that promote and provide a high quality lifestyle,” said Ronald Van Pelt, Senior Vice President, Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo.
Luxury lifestyle hotels are easily identified by their extensive spa facilities, larger rooms, private villas or suites. However, according to Van Pelt, a new accommodation offering is emerging in the lifestyle arena: fractional ownership.
“Most new luxury properties include residential components such as fractional ownership units that promote the concept of a luxury lifestyle in the privacy of your own unit while having all of the benefits and advantages of a hotel,” he said.
“The luxury lifestyle product is still evolving and will continue to change in response to the demands of discerning guests and the ingenuity of designers, developers and operators,” Van Pelt added.
For Robert Riley, CEO of Emaar Hotels & Resorts and moderator of the panel discussion on luxury lifestyle hotels, adding a brand element, such as Armani, adds to the lifestyle experience.
“In addition to the feel-good factor and element of exclusivity that a brand name offers, luxury lifestyle hotels - such as The Armani Hotel - offer clients a whole new lifestyle experience. Here, elements of fashion and modern living that are never before used in hotels are integrated into the regular amenities thus enhancing the overall stay-quality.
“The ambience, décor and furnishings also become a representation of the haute couture values of Armani, which will further heighten the quality of living of guests,” he said.
Giorgio Armani S.p.A. and Emaar Hotels & Resorts entered into an agreement in 2004 for the development of a unique international collection of ‘Armani Hotels and Resorts’.
Armani has awarded a long term license to Emaar Hotel & Resorts for the operation of a collection of luxury hotels and resorts, whereby Emaar is responsible for real estate, construction, management and operations, with Armani overseeing all aspects of content, design and style, including interiors and amenities, incorporating the various Armani fashion, furnishings and beauty collections.
With numerous luxury brands, such as Missoni , Versace and even Porsche, looking to enter the region’s hotel and real estate sector, luxury lifestyle living looks set to take off.
“Today, the demand for luxury lifestyle hotels is on the rise. This is a direct response to the increasing purchasing power of a fast-growing segment of entrepreneurs and professionals. Luxury lifestyle hotels meet their need of an exclusive way of living. This segment, however, is also one of the most promising and is poised for greater growth in the coming years,” Riley predicted.
‘The Future of Independent Luxury Lifestyle Hotels in a Consolidating Environment’ was moderated by Robert Riley, CEO Emaar Hotels & Resorts. Panellists included Ronald Van Pelt; Welf J Ebeling, Executive Vice President and COO, The Leading Hotels of the World; Sumit Guha, Vice President Projects and Development, Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces; and MPS Puri, Vice President, The Americas, General Hotel Management.