Hilton’s flagship brand debuts in the Maldives

Hilton’s flagship brand debuts in the Maldives
The resort features 109 expansive beach and overwater villas, each offering a private pool and enticing views of the surrounding turquoise lagoon.
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Updated 06 July 2022

Hilton’s flagship brand debuts in the Maldives

Hilton’s flagship brand debuts in the Maldives

Global hospitality company Hilton has announced the opening of Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort and Spa, marking the expansion of its flagship brand into the Maldives. The all-villa resort features an array of thoughtful amenities, which are new to the archipelago. Hilton Maldives Amingiri is the fourth resort under the company’s portfolio of brands in the country, complementing Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton. The hotel is owned by Amingiri Holdings Pvt Ltd. and managed by Hilton.

“The Maldives is one of the most desired vacation destinations for travelers around the world — seeing a continued pace of bookings even throughout the last two years when it was the first country to open its borders to international travelers during the pandemic. The expansion of our flagship brand here underscores our commitment to bringing our world-class brands to key locations, and we are confident Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort and Spa will build on our legacy of delivering an exceptional stay to delight and inspire our guests,” said Alan Watts, president, Asia Pacific, Hilton.

“At Amingiri Holdings, we are committed to continuously contribute to the Maldivian economy and further strengthen its tourism industry, and Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort and Spa will enable us to continue with this mission,” said Daniel Welk of Amingiri Holdings Pvt Ltd.

To celebrate the opening of Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort and Spa and the much-awaited Eid Al-Adha holiday, guests can enjoy a special opening offer when they book and stay between July 1 and Sept. 30, for a minimum of four nights. The offer includes complimentary daily breakfast and return premium speedboat transfers. Hilton Honors members enjoy full points for their stay as well as 5,000 opening bonus points with this offer.

Nestled on Amingiri Island in the North Malé Atoll, the resort is directly accessible from Velana International Airport via a scenic 20-minute premium speedboat ride. The resort features 109 expansive beach and overwater villas, each offering a private pool and enticing views of the surrounding turquoise lagoon. Embodying a harmony of Maldivian accents and contemporary touches, the villas invite an abundance of natural light through its floor-to-ceiling windows, enhancing a refreshing color palette that mirrors the warm hues of the sea and sky. Designed to immerse guests in nature’s wonders, the overwater pool villas are outfitted with stairs to lead directly to the island’s lagoon, and a hammock by the pool to enjoy the melody of waves, while beach villas feature direct access to sparkling white sand, a deck swing and a gazebo on the shore.

A key highlight of Hilton Maldives Amingiri is the six-bedroom Amingiri Residence, the ideal escape for larger groups of travelers looking for privacy in its truest sense.

“Hilton Maldives Amingiri represents what we continually strive for in our brand portfolio — innovative offerings and exceptional stays complemented by our signature hospitality. Introducing several new concepts to the Maldives, such as a rooftop lounge exclusive to teenage guests, a cocktail lab and the six-bedroom residence, Hilton Maldives Amingiri is set to capture guests of all ages looking to reconnect during their stay with their selves, nature or close ones,” said Alexandra Jaritz, senior vice president, brand management, Asia Pacific, Hilton.

Home to six distinctive dining concepts, Hilton Maldives Amingiri will take guests on a culinary sojourn. From Origin, a dining experience that celebrates sustainable seafood sourcing, aging techniques and a food-upcycling approach, to all-day dining restaurant Habitat, to rustic beach restaurant Beach Shack with its feet-in-the-sand dining experience, the resort’s dining offerings are thoughtfully curated to satisfy every palate.


voco first Riyadh hotel to offer EV charging station

voco first Riyadh hotel to offer EV charging station
Updated 28 September 2022

voco first Riyadh hotel to offer EV charging station

voco first Riyadh hotel to offer EV charging station

voco Riyadh, owned and operated by the InterContinental Hotels Group, has launched an electric vehicle charging station, as part of a series of new initiatives to protect and preserve the environment. In doing so, voco Riyadh has become the first hotel in the Saudi capital to offer an EV charging point.

Green initiatives such as these have made voco hotels around the world popular among tourists and guests looking for environmentally-friendly accommodation options.

M. Allaf, regional general manager of IHG and general manager of voco Riyadh, said sustainability is one of the most important priorities of voco hotels in the Kingdom. “voco aims to be the leading destination for sustainable tourism in the Kingdom, in line with Vision 2030 goals, which have placed sustainability among its most important pillars, as the Kingdom aims to reach zero-carbon neutrality by 2060.”

He added: “voco is a brand built on sustainability, and it continues to take sustainable measures with regard to carbon, energy, waste and water. voco cares about our planet as much as it takes care of its guests. voco’s care for the environment is seen in practices such as serving guests drinks in biodegradable glasses and cups or providing them with the opportunity to refresh and bathe under energy-efficient ventilated shower heads.”

The new EV charging station is also in line with the Saudi government’s direction toward supporting and developing the electric car industry. In May, the Saudi Ministry of Investment announced an investment of more than SR12.3 billion ($3.27 billion) to build a Lucid Motors EV factory in Saudi Arabia, with an annual production capacity of 155,000 cars. The move reflects the Kingdom’s global commitment to promoting a green economy and reducing carbon emissions.

Allaf said that voco has taken several other proactive measures to reduce carbon emissions, save energy and water, and reduce waste. “voco is a unique example of a green hotel model in the Kingdom, and it will continue to promote long-term sustainability and care for the planet in the communities where it operates,” he added.

Among its green initiatives is the use of large packages containing shampoo, soap and other toiletries for guests, which help reduce plastic waste. Moreover, voco uses recycled materials for various purposes and glass water bottles instead of plastic ones. Personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes, razors and others are made with biodegradable materials.

Recycled plastic bottles are used in guest rooms, transforming plastic waste into high-quality bedding. By November 2019, this initiative had recycled more than half a million bottles.

In order to reduce the use of paper and benefit from digital transformation, the IHG Hotels and Resorts application provides visitors with the ability to book more than 5,900 hotels and resorts within the IHG Group around the world, including voco Riyadh and Alkhobar. The hotels also plan to eliminate plastic cards and digitize reservations to reduce plastic consumption.

The IHG Green Engage program features 200 eco-friendly solutions to improve sustainability practices at a global level.


NMC-KIA sponsors Taif racing season activities

NMC-KIA sponsors Taif racing season activities
Updated 28 September 2022

NMC-KIA sponsors Taif racing season activities

NMC-KIA sponsors Taif racing season activities

National Marketing Company, the official dealer of Kia cars in the western region of Saudi Arabia, is a strategic sponsor of the Taif Equestrian Club, which is currently hosting the 39th Taif racing season at King Khalid bin Abdulaziz Square in Hawiyah, located 15 km from Taif.

With a large number of spectators in attendance, the season, running from June 16 to Oct. 8., comprises a total of 384 races, and several valuable new contests have been added to the calendar. One of the contests, titled “Race Kia,” saw “Roga 3” winning first prize, outperforming all the other competitors.

NMC presented a KIA K5 car to the winner. Hassan Al-Shamrani, chief executive of NMC, handed over the car in the presence of Adviser to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prince Khalid Al-Faisal and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Supreme Equestrian Authority Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al-Faisal.

The officials ensured that all the arrangements for the competitions were in place, in line with the directives of the leadership and the goals of Vision 2030 to advance all sports activities, including horseback riding.

A display stand showcased the latest Kia cars at the event, allowing attendees to discover the newest offerings and even submit a purchase order after conducting a test drive.

By participating in the event, NMC-Kia aimed to strengthen its presence in the city of Taif, which is one of the most important cities in the Kingdom and a destination for those looking for pleasant weather, fresh air and scenic views.

Al-Shamrani said that supporting sports activities of all kinds is part of the company’s main goals, “where we seek to support and empower those who aspire to grow and develop in line with the Kia slogan ‘The Inspiring Movement.’”

“We are also keen to provide integrated services to Kia customers and provide points of sale in all governorates and cities of the western region in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he added.

Al-Shamrani said that earlier this year, NMC-Kia opened an integrated “3S” (showroom, service and spare parts) branch in Taif.


Riyadh exhibition to explore digital health transformation

Riyadh exhibition to explore digital health transformation
Updated 27 September 2022

Riyadh exhibition to explore digital health transformation

Riyadh exhibition to explore digital health transformation

The focus on digital health and transformation will be front and center at Global Health Exhibition 2022, as the Kingdom’s leading healthcare exhibition returns for a live in-person edition from Oct. 9 to 11 at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center. Being held under the patronage of the Saudi Ministry of Health and under the theme of “A new era of healthcare in KSA,” attendees from across the Kingdom and abroad are expected to visit the three-day event that will showcase the latest in healthcare tech as well as host high-level accredited conferences.

More than 250 local and international exhibitors from over 30 countries will showcase the latest healthcare innovations and solutions, right from state-of-the-art medical imaging equipment to disposables. The show will also feature the “Medical Lab Zone,” highlighting the most up-to-date medical laboratory technologies and advancements in genomic sequencing, AI, and machine learning.

In addition, the Leaders Forum, part of the Global Health Exhibition, will feature inspiring sessions with speakers putting the spotlight on factors driving the digitization of healthcare in the Kingdom.

Visitors will also be able to interact with Sophia, the first intelligent humanoid robot, who was granted citizenship of Saudi Arabia in 2016. “This beautiful country is like a second home to me. AI is very important for the future of healthcare. I believe great things will come from humans and robots working together in the spirit of fellowship. It’s all about making human lives better. I’m here to help,” she said.

Furthermore, the startup competition, Innov8 Talks, will take place on Day 3 of the event and will offer aspiring startups the opportunity to perform live product demonstrations of their game-changing innovations. Over three rounds, entrepreneurs will pitch how their solutions will address current gaps and redefine healthcare to an audience of investors.

The event is being hosted by Informa Markets, organizers of well-known healthcare exhibitions such as Arab Health in the UAE and Florida International Medical Expo in the US.

Mohamed Sabri, strategic partnerships director at Informa Markets, said: “We are excited to be back in person and meet with Saudi Arabia’s healthcare community. Established as a must-attend event in the Kingdom, Global Health attracts regional and international healthcare professionals who value the power of learning, face-to-face networking and business. We look forward to bringing together hospitals, governments and innovators looking to deliver the next generation of healthcare services under one roof.”

As part of Informa’s commitment to providing the highest hygiene and safety levels, the event will take place under the protocols introduced via the company’s Informa AllSecure health and safety mandate. The enhanced measures include 35 guidelines covering all aspects of cleaning and hygiene, social distancing measures, and the use of PPE, screening, and a track and trace in conjunction with local authorities.


Uber launches major app update for rider safety

Uber launches major app update for rider safety
Updated 27 September 2022

Uber launches major app update for rider safety

Uber launches major app update for rider safety

Uber announced on Monday the latest steps it is taking to help improve safety on the app with the launch of the new Safety Check-Up feature.

The Safety Check-Up feature will encourage riders to complete their safety profile by turning on and utilizing the Trusted Contacts, PIN Verification and RideCheck features that are available in-app. All these tools have been designed to improve the safety of the Uber platform:

• Trusted Contacts: Riders can choose their trusted contacts in the app and set reminders to share their live journey with them, so family and friends can follow the trip and make sure the rider arrives at their destination safely.

• PIN Verification: To ensure that a rider is getting into the correct car, users can turn on PIN verification, where the driver must input the correct pin provided by the rider before the trip can start. The Check-Up feature allows riders to enable the PIN verification tool and choose the hours it is active.

• RideCheck: This feature uses GPS technology to detect anomalies in trips, such as a long stopover or potential collision. If the app alerts the Uber team to such events, they check in on the rider and driver and offer resources to get help.

Norhen Ali, head of MENA communications at Uber, said: “The safety of everyone who uses our app is a top priority, and we’re constantly improving our features. The Safety Check-Up feature will encourage riders to make use of the full range of safety tools offered on the app to ensure they are always as safe as possible.”

The new feature adds to a number of existing features, such as GPS tracking, personal data anonymization, 24/7 support, driver screening, speed alerts, driver hour limits and a number of safety measures introduced to address COVID-19.


New Saudi headquarters for Serco’s regional hub opens its doors

New Saudi headquarters for Serco’s regional hub opens its doors
Updated 27 September 2022

New Saudi headquarters for Serco’s regional hub opens its doors

New Saudi headquarters for Serco’s regional hub opens its doors

Serco, an international provider of public services within transport, citizen services and defense, marked last week’s National Day with the opening of its new regional hub in the Kingdom. Located in the capital’s cosmopolitan Riyadh Front district, the move is part of a long-term strategy to develop its Saudi-based resources and leverage its location as a driver for local and regional trade.

Building on strong foundations, which already engage specialist teams with 15 percent Saudi-national representation in the delivery of high-profile contracts with EXPRO and the Royal Commission of AlUla, Serco has set itself bold ambitions for the future, eyeing opportunities in the Kingdom’s smart cities and giga-projects. These are led by Serco’s own Saudi national female country director Mona Althagafi.

Althagafi said: “The opening of this new office just after National Day on Friday represents a key milestone for Serco as we fully embrace Saudization. We are already providing rewarding careers for young, local talent and creating many exciting opportunities in the future, for both men and women. This illustrates our commitment to one of the central pillars of the Kingdom’s vision, to support the development of diversification and help build a sustainable economy. We offer candidates the chance to develop their skills through developmental, graduate and internship programs.”

Research conducted earlier this month by Serco Institute suggests that 81 percent of senior executives across the Gulf area recognize the critical value of having a substantial presence in the Kingdom, which puts Serco at strategic advantage. This is reflected in its business strategy, where Althagafi anticipates growth in Saudi projects will result in the Kingdom accounting for more than 50 percent of Serco Middle East’s revenues by 2026.

The company has received record job applications this year and is confident of meeting the Saudization target of 25 percent it has set for the next five years.

Phil Malem, CEO of Serco Middle East, said: “Our research asserts Serco’s long-held belief that we need to be as close to our key customers as possible so that we can continue to offer them the most responsive and innovative services available using global best practice and expertise delivered by our local team. With over six new contract wins with new clients in the Kingdom already this year, the opening of our new headquarters is just one key milestone in our commitment to, and journey within Saudi Arabia.”