IHG expands luxury footprint: Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants debut in Sicily

Leading hotel company IHG Hotels & Resorts has revealed its latest venture, signing its inaugural Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants property in Italy.

The announcement, part of IHG’s rapidly expanding luxury & lifestyle portfolio, positions it as the second-largest globally.

The Kimpton hotel in Sicily is set to welcome guests in the latter half of 2025 through a management agreement with partner Società Turistica Alberghiera Taorminese.

In a strategic move, IHG has intensified its focus on the Italian market, evident with six luxury and lifestyle openings and signings in 2023 alone.

This includes noteworthy properties like the first urban expression of Six Senses in Rome, InterContinental Rome Ambasciatori Palace and Hotel Indigo Florence.

The next few years should see the addition of Hotel Indigo properties in Turin and Trieste, along with IHG’s inaugural Vignette Collection property, Hotel Alexandra, in Rome next year.

Situated in the charming hill-top town of Taormina on Sicily’s east coast, the 59-boutique bedroom Kimpton hotel will blend heritage with Kimpton’s signature style, irreverence and design-led experiences.

Guests can anticipate a destination dining experience with panoramic views from the breakfast room and bar terrace spanning from Calabria to the Bay of Isolabella.

The Kimpton brand’s unique approach to wellness, extending beyond the expected, will be embodied in the Sicilian property. An outdoor Mediterranean garden, a 20-metre swimming pool, and a tennis court are among the features designed to enhance the guest experience.

Willemijn Geels, VP Development, Europe, IHG Hotels & Resorts, expressed excitement about the partnership with Società Turistica Alberghiera Taorminese. She said,

Italy has long been known for its reputation of luxury travel, breath-taking coastal locations and vibrant communities – and our growth strategy in the country has been designed to complement this.

Following a surge of activity in 2023, which saw us more than double our luxury and lifestyle offerings in this market, we’re now excited to be partnering with Società Turistica Alberghiera Taorminese to expand our presence in Italy with this boutique lifestyle property on the picturesque island of Sicily.

This expansion underscores the demand and trust from our owners to embed IHG’s luxury and lifestyle portfolio in one of Europe’s most coveted leisure destinations.

We look forward to delivering exceptional experiences to our guests and helping them create unforgettable memories once we open our doors in the second half of 2025.

IHG acquired Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants in 2018, continuing the brand’s expansion into Europe and beyond.

The Sicilian property joins a global portfolio that includes Kimpton Vividora Barcelona, Kimpton St Honoré Paris, and Kimpton Fitzroy London.

Raffaele Ranucci, Owner, Società Turistica Alberghiera Taorminese, shared his delight in partnering with IHG to introduce the first Kimpton-branded hotel to Italy. He said,

We are delighted to be partnering with IHG Hotels & Resorts to bring the first Kimpton branded hotel to Italy, in Sicily. This new and exciting chapter means we will welcome visitors to this one-of-a-kind destination once we open our doors in 2025, and provide guests with the unparalleled service, amenities, and experiences the Kimpton brand is known for.

Every Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant aims to foster genuine connections through unexpected, personalised touches, creating an authentic and unscripted guest experience. The Sicilian property is set to embody this ethos, introducing the brand’s culture of heartfelt hospitality and design-forward hotels to Italy.

The Kimpton in Sicily marks IHG Hotels & Resorts’ 30th hotel in Italy and contributes to a portfolio of eight Kimpton hotels across the UK and continental Europe. This is part of Kimpton’s global portfolio of 78 hotels across 12 countries, with a projected addition of 54 hotels by 2025, surpassing the 100-hotel milestone and extending its presence to 20 countries.

For further information about IHG hotels and to make bookings in any of the company’s hotels worldwide, please contact your Global Travel Management Account Manager.

IHG to expand lifestyle portfolio In Saudi Arabia

IHG Hotels & Resorts has announced the signing of a Management Agreement with Mohammed Bin Salman Nonprofit City for a new Hotel Indigo within the city near the Irqah area along Wadi Hanifa in Riyadh.

Set to open in 2025, with basement works already completed, the new hotel adds to IHG’s robust growth plans across various new developments that align with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 tourism strategy.

Mohammed Bin Salman Nonprofit City is the first nonprofit City of its kind, set to be an incubator for youth and for local and international institutions supporting innovation, entrepreneurship and future leaders.

Hotel Indigo: Mohammed Bin Salman Nonprofit City

The hotel will be located next to the City’s Al Mishraq Zone and serve as a living laboratory where IHG says “innovation and social life will thrive, and creativity will meet science and technology”.

Guests will be able to take advantage of the City’s cultural experiences by using a vibrant pedestrian-only main street as part of the City’s “15 minute” planning concept, with connections to cultural offerings as well as elevated fine dining restaurants overlooking the stunning Wadi Hanifah and views of Riyadh’s city skyline.

The City will deliver a platform to experiment with new products and technologies, and will offer interactive retail environments providing customers with immersive experiences. The infrastructure will include a comprehenisve mobility solution, supported by a sustainable cooling and shading system.

David Henry: Another world class hotel

The new-build Hotel Indigo will feature 234 guestrooms and suites, as well as 138 serviced apartments.

The hotel is situated just fifteen minutes from Riyadh city centre and ten minutes from the UNESCO World Heritage Site, At-Turaif District in Al-Dir’iyah.

It also has access to beautiful, diverse landscapes, together with iconic and innovative building structures including the Misk Art Institute, Mohammed bin Salman Foundation “Misk” headquarters, and a conference centre, all located within the development. 

The lifestyle hotel will boast three dining options for guests, including a neighbourhood café, specialty dining venue, and an exquisite lobby lounge.

Hotel Indigo Mohammed Bin Salman Nonprofit City Riyadh will also offer state-of-the-art facilities, including four multi-purpose meeting spaces, a contemporary health club and a swimming pool, making it “the ultimate destination for a range of guests”.

Speaking on the new signing announcement, Haitham Mattar, Managing Director, India, Middle East & Africa, IHG said:

We are delighted to partner with Mohammed Bin Salman Nonprofit City, a flourishing community of creative thinkers and innovative pioneers that will build the future of Saudi Arabia. The City is devoted to encouraging youth leadership for a better future in the Kingdom, and our partnership is a wonderful opportunity to continue our support for Saudi youth and Vision 2030.

Mohammed Bin Salman Nonprofit City is an ideal destination, as it represents a vast oasis within the City, and close to the historical capital, Riyadh. The new Hotel Indigo in Riyadh will cater to guests visiting Mohammed Bin Salman Nonprofit City and looking to experience its business innovation, recreational entertainment options, cultural learning opportunities, outdoor destinations, and various other unique activities.

David Henry, Chief Executive Officer of Mohammed Bin Salman Nonprofit City said,

I am very pleased that IHG has selected our City for another world class hotel offering that will be designed to provide a range of services that align with our youth-oriented focus. We are also delighted that the Ministry of Culture will oversee the inclusion of Saudi artwork in the hotel, thereby aligning with the missions of the Foundation’s Misk Art Institute, and the Hotel Indigo brand.

IHG currently operates 37 hotels across five brands in Saudi Arabia, including: InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Staybridge Suites, and voco, with 31 hotels in the development pipeline planned to open within the next three to five years.

Crowne Plaza guests love the brand’s fresh, new approach

In collaboration with hotel owners around the world, IHG Hotels & Resorts is accelerating the transformation of one of the industry’s largest and most well-known upscale brands – Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts.

Whether they are among the first to stay with IHG at new marquee global properties or checking in to recently renovated properties, guests are experiencing the future of business travel – and, according to IHG research, loving it.  

Ginger Taggart, Vice President, Global Crowne Plaza, commented: 

Crowne Plaza was one of the first brands to focus on the needs of modern business travellers in the early 1980s and, since then, we have continued to innovate and advance our design and service approach.

During the last few years, we have worked closely with our owners to enhance this brand to meet the future of premium travel, including the desire of guests for overall balance and the ability to switch easily between work and leisure, as well as the evolution of meetings to include more virtual and hybrid options.

Crowne Plaza’s elevated experience for today’s business traveller centres around a “new modern” design style which satisfies the needs of professional productivity, personal restoration and inspiration. Key features include:

  • Plaza Workspace – Lobbies have been reimagined through Plaza Workspace with flexible spaces that support work and downtime; a central, stylish bar; different seating for working and socialising; embedded technology; and a private meeting space that is bookable by the hour.
  • WorkLife Rooms – Crowne Plaza’s perfectly balanced, and patented, WorkLife Room offers a combination of comfort, connectivity and flexibility with distinct zones that maximize space and lighting for work, relaxation and sleep.
  • Dare to Connect – A distinguished service experience, Dare to Connect is an intuitive, unscripted service style that ‘sets Crowne Plaza apart’ in the industry. The programme trains and empowers hotel teams to take a proactive approach to connect with guests, anticipating their needs and providing the best recommendations to help guests make the most of their free time.
  • Gather + Thrive – Crowne Plaza is focused on the future of meetings and events, setting the stage for creative collaborations and significant life moments, working from planning to execution to make sure everything runs smoothly so that meeting planners and attendees can be at their best. The Gather + Thrive program offers an end-to-end meetings and events experience including purposeful design, energizing food and beverage options, innovative meeting technology and great service.  Meetings are also backed by IHG’s Meet with Confidence programme, including multivenue and hybrid meeting options developed with partners such as Encore (formerly PSAV); enhanced cleanliness, health and safety protocols for meetings; and flexible booking options. 

Chris Green, President & CEO, Chesapeake Hospitality, commented:

We know that a strong product and well-designed hotel creates an immense impact and we are proud to showcase the differentiated, signature design hallmarks of the Crowne Plaza brand in partnership with IHG. While the physical hotel product is only one of the many factors that drive guest satisfaction and positive growth in share of revenue, it’s one of the most important and visible, and we’re pleased to have exceeded our fair share of revenue for 13 consecutive months after our full renovation.

Around the world, guests are celebrating similar experiences with Crowne Plaza and rewarding renovated hotels with significant increases in guest satisfaction scores. At one of the brand’s recently renovated flagship properties – the 291-room Crowne Plaza Hamburg – City Alster – guest feedback has been enthusiastic and centred around the stylish, modern and comfortable rooms, especially for long weekend stays. Guests also shared their excitement about the trendy, creative and comfortable meeting rooms.

Crowne Plaza continues to grow around the world with nearly 430 Crowne Plaza hotels now open and 89 in the pipeline. In 2020, the brand opened 19 new hotels, including 10 properties in Greater China. In fact, the Crowne Plaza Shanghai Hongqiao marked the 100th property for the brand in the region.

Hotel group uses artificial intelligence to reduce food waste

InterContinental Hotels Group has announced a partnership with technology company Winnow to help its hotels automatically track, measure and reduce food waste.

IHG is the first global hotel company to use the award-winning Winnow Vision AI-enabled technology, which will help its hotels achieve a 30% reduction in food waste.

Through the use of an intelligent camera, “smart scales” and AI-based smart meter technology, Winnow Vision analyses ingredients during food preparation, as well as plates returned to the kitchen, to assess which food items are most wasted and in what quantities. This builds up a bank of data which in turn informs buying decisions, shapes menus and hones food preparation techniques.

Winnow’s technology has been successfully installed in seven IHG hotels in its Europe, Middle East, Asia & Africa (EMEAA) region, with installation due in a further 30 properties in the coming months. One hotel already benefitting from this approach is InterContinental Fujairah Resort, UAE. In six months, the resort has been able to reduce food waste by more than 50%. 60 more hotels in the EMEAA region have expressed their interest in signing up to the technology and IHG is currently exploring roll-out to its other two regions – the Americas and Greater China.

The announcement was made on World Sustainable Gastronomy Day, which raises awareness on the role gastronomy can play in contributing to sustainable development, in support of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Kenneth Macpherson, Chief Executive Officer, EMEAA, IHG, said,

With more than 5,600 hotels right across the world, a commitment to operating responsibly is at the heart of all we do. We know there’s always more that can be done to make a greater difference – whether that’s minimising waste through the removal of plastic straws or introducing innovative technology to reduce our environmental impact. Our partnership with Winnow will help our hotels be smarter and savvier in their approach to creating compelling menus that result in less waste whether it’s a grab-and-go breakfast, a family restaurant or a Michelin dining experience. I’m delighted that this is being led by some of our hotels in the Middle East, who are already seeing significant food waste reductions, and I’m looking forward to seeing this technology take off in more and more of our hotels around the world.

Marc Zornes, Founder and CEO, Winnow, said,

Food waste is a global issue, and one that kitchens around the world are struggling with. Without visibility into what is being wasted, kitchens are wasting far more food than they think.  It is a privilege to work with such a forward-thinking hospitality chain as IHG and help them become the first global hotel brand to significantly reduce food waste globally by using Artificial Intelligence while improving their responsible processes in their food and beverages offer.

This partnership builds on IHG’s long-term commitment to minimise waste across all of its hotel estate and operations.

Four in five travellers have trouble sleeping

Four in five travellers have trouble sleeping

A global study commissioned by InterContinenal Hotels Group has revealed that a lack of sleep is a primary concern for travellers, with four in five stating they have trouble sleeping when travelling away from home.

The launch of the findings coincided with World Sleep Day, an annual day devoted to tackling important sleep issues.

The findings from the survey revealed:

  • The business traveller loses around 58 minutes of sleep each night when staying away from home, averaging just five hours and 17 minutes of sleep, per night.
  • The biggest causes of a restless night’s sleep for those travelling are:
    • Different environment (44%)
    • Unfamiliar noises (35%)
    • Working late (35%)

Dr. Steven W. Lockley, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School commented:

It’s no secret that travelling can be challenging for our health, particularly when it comes to maintaining our normal sleep patterns. Light is the major environmental time cue that resets the circadian clock in our brains each day, which is easily thrown off when travelling.

Over two thirds (67%) of those surveyed stated they feel more tired when they are away from home. To aid sleep, nearly a half either try listening to music (47%) or watching TV (45%) to try and fall asleep. To help travellers combat a restless night away from home, IHG has piloted the use of portable and versatile JOURNI Mobile Task Light designed to help regulate sleep when travelling.

Dr. Lockley continues:

Light can also be a stimulant, directly alerting the brain, or promote sleep before bedtime, depending on the spectrum and intensity of light exposure. Having greater control of light exposure when travelling can help promote sleep at the right time or wake at the right time, preserving some sense of sleep normalcy when on the road.

Brian McGuiness, IHG’s Senior Vice President of Global Guest Experience, commented:

With so many travellers experiencing sleep disruptions when they’re on the road, we want to do everything possible to make sure our guests at any one of our 16 IHG Hotels & Resorts brands have a restful sleep while staying with us.

We’re excited to be the first hotel company to pilot this technology that uses LED lighting to improve guest sleep, and it’s just one of the many programs we’ve introduced over the years to improve guest experience, such as our Crowne Plaza Sleep Advantage programme with premium bedding and aromatherapy kits and our Holiday Inn pillow menu.

Crowne Plaza Atlanta Airport will be the first IHG Hotels & Resorts property to install the JOURNI Mobile Task Light as part of this pilot project. Guests can easily adjust the light from the blue-enriched white spectrum to boost energy and performance when awake, to the blue-depleted spectrum for use in the evening in preparation for bedtime, to promote a more restful night’s sleep.

Contact your GTM Account Manager when you need to book hotel nights at any IHG hotel property, including the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Airport.