Travel Technology, Hospitality Management
Business Wire | October 16, 2023
Hilton celebrated the grand opening of Spark by Hilton Mystic Groton, solidifying the company’s foray into the premium economy segment. With more than 400 opportunities in various stages of development, the first-ever Spark by Hilton made its debut just eight months after Hilton announced the new, conversion-only brand in January of this year.
Located less than half a mile from I-95, Spark by Hilton Mystic Groton is nestled in the historic maritime town of Mystic, Connecticut, with iconic landmarks including The Mystic Aquarium, Mystic Seaport Museum, Olde Mistick Village and the Mystic Bascule Drawbridge nearby. The hotel is also less than two miles away from local shops and restaurants in Mystic’s quaint downtown.
“In partnership with Distinctive Hospitality Group, we are thrilled to welcome guests into the very first Spark by Hilton. This breakthrough premium economy brand builds on Hilton’s continued work to develop new brands and provide a hotel for every traveler and every stay occasion,” said Matt Schuyler, chief brand officer, Hilton. “Spark is our fastest announcement-to-market brand in Hilton’s history, and we are excited to grow our portfolio of world-class brands with many more Sparks on the horizon.”
Spark by Hilton Mystic Groton features 120 comfortable and relaxing guest rooms and a seasonal outdoor pool. Other signature elements of Spark by Hilton hotels include:
A 24-hour retail market and a simple, complimentary breakfast, featuring premium coffee, juice and a signature bagel bar with spreads.
Public space with multi-functional seating from communal tables to rocking chairs, offering plenty of options for guests to enjoy breakfast, socialize or work throughout the day.
Guest rooms outfitted with practical amenities, including simple, streamlined furniture, an open closet, an in-room refrigerator, a multi-purpose work surface and a bright bathroom.
Simple, inspired design with splashes of color, vibrant exterior statement walls and energizing artwork.
“At Spark by Hilton, our approach to hospitality is all about ensuring that every traveler can enjoy exceptional quality without sacrificing affordability,” said Alissa Klees, brand leader, Spark by Hilton. “As we celebrate the opening of our inaugural Spark in Mystic, it marks the start of a journey to reshape travel and disrupt the premium economy segment while expanding our customer and owner base.”
The grand opening of Spark by Hilton Mystic Groton was celebrated today with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and remarks from Matt Schuyler, chief brand officer, Hilton; Alissa Klees, brand leader, Spark by Hilton; and Lou Carrier, president, Distinctive Hospitality Group. Photos from the grand opening event can be found here.
“Needless to say, we’re thrilled with being the first Spark by Hilton to be opened,” said Lou Carrier, president, Distinctive Hospitality Group. “We’re extremely confident the Mystic/Eastern Connecticut marketplace will present the diversified business drivers to allow our 120-room hotel to flourish. Additionally, we are already seeing an incredible mix of Hilton Honors members giving trial to the new brand as well as never before Hilton Honors members signing up to join the loyalty program. Hilton is clearly redefining the economy segment with Spark!”
Spark by Hilton Mystic Groton is part of Hilton Honors, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s distinct hotel brands. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else and free standard Wi-Fi. Members also enjoy popular digital tools available exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton Honors mobile app, where Hilton Honors members can check-in, choose their room and access their room using a Digital Key.
About Spark by Hilton
The newest addition to the Hilton portfolio, Spark by Hilton is a premium economy hotel brand at the intersection of value and consistency. Spark by Hilton provides a reliable and comfortable stay with friendly service for every guest, all at an accessible price. Spark by Hilton hotels provide a welcoming sense of arrival with colorful accent walls and inspiring artwork. The public spaces provide multi-functional seating, from communal tables to rocking chairs, and guest rooms are comfortable and relaxing with simple, streamlined furniture. In the morning, travelers can enjoy a complimentary signature bagel bar and premium coffee.
Travel Technology, Hospitality Management
Holland America Line | September 27, 2023
Holland America Line is bringing the Great Land to Phoenix, Arizona, with the all-day Alaska Cruise and Travel Show Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort and Villas. The free-to-attend, action-packed expo runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and invites Arizonans who are dreaming about an Alaska cruise vacation to come learn, engage and see the best ways to experience this incredible destination with Holland America Line.
Celebrating more than 75 years of Alaska exploration, Holland America Line is rolling out the red carpet with an immersive display of all-things Alaska for the event. Attendees will be able to meet the people who bring Alaska to life, make s'mores, take part in gold panning (and keep what they find!), try their hand at axe throwing, and enjoy live presentations and culinary demonstrations.
"Our Alaska cruises are ranked number one for the most Alaska glacier, wildlife and wilderness viewing opportunities," said Bill Fletcher, senior director of destination marketing for Holland America Line. "We're bringing our Alaska travel experts to Phoenix to connect with people who want to check this destination off their bucket-list but aren't sure where to start. Even travelers who have previously explored Alaska can gain insights for future visits, meet tour operators, enjoy family-friendly activities and enter to win prizes."
Those who register and attend will have a chance to win one of six $500 Holland America Line gift cards or the grand prize of an Alaska cruise for two.
Scheduled for the Alaska Cruise and Travel Show presented by Holland America Line:
Attendees can meet an Alaskan Lumberjack from the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan, Alaska, who will demonstrate axe throwing, and attendees will have the opportunity to test their own skills.
Just like the prospectors of the Klondike Gold Rush of the 1800s, attendees can pan for real gold and perhaps take home an authentic nugget.
Attendees will feel like they are at McKinley Chalet Resort's Denali Square as they roast marshmallows and make s'mores around a faux firepit.
Fleet Executive Chef Sinu Pillai will provide culinary demos featuring fresh, sustainable Alaska seafood served on Holland America Line's Alaska cruises.
Attendees will learn more about Holland America Line's enrichment and entertainment programming that brings Alaska on board through authentic experiences that focus on culture, cuisine and adventures ashore.
All who attend will enjoy live presentations from Alaska operators to see and hear about the wildlife, scenery, adventure and culture they can experience in Alaska.
Shore excursion operators — from the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway in Skagway to the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan — and Holland America Line representatives will be on hand to share more about what to expect when traveling to Alaska with the only cruise line that ventures into the Yukon Territory (hint: it involves river rafting, zip-lining and going deep into the wilderness to spot grizzlies and caribou).
The Alaska Cruise and Travel Show is presented by Holland America Line and co-presented by Expedia Cruises in North Scottsdale. Other sponsors include Allen Marine Tours, a family-owned company based in Southeast Alaska.
Cruising to Alaska in 2024
From April through September 2024, guests can embark on Holland America Line's cruises to Alaska aboard Eurodam, Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Westerdam and Zaandam. The cruise line is debuting a new 28-day Arctic Circle itinerary in 2024 that includes 12 Alaska ports, longer 14-day voyages and 117 weeklong journeys, enhancing its position as the leader in Alaska cruising.
Every Alaska cruise includes a visit to one or more of Alaska's iconic glacier destinations: Glacier Bay National Park, College Fjord, Dawes Glacier, Hubbard Glacier and Twin Sawyer Glaciers of Tracy Arm. Holland America Line has more visits to Glacier Bay than any other cruise line.
Exclusive Cruisetours Explore Denali and Yukon
The Alaska landscape is one of the few places in the world that is best seen by combining a cruise with an overland adventure, and Holland America Line's award-winning Cruisetours offer guests 16 options that showcase remote and off-the-beaten path regions. Holland America Line is the only cruise company to weave must-see sites such as Denali National Park — the centerpiece of every Cruisetour — with the unspoiled reaches of Canada's Yukon Territory.
About Holland America Line [a division of Carnival Corporation and plc
Holland America Line has been exploring the world for 150 years with expertly crafted itineraries, extraordinary service and genuine connections to the destinations. Offering an ideal mid-sized ship experience, its fleet visits nearly 400 ports in 114 countries around the world and has shared the thrill of Alaska for 75 years — longer than any other cruise line. Holland America Line's 11 vessels feature a diverse range of enriching activities and amenities focused on destination immersion and personalized travel. Guests enjoy the best entertainment at sea each evening and dining venues featuring exclusive dishes by world-famous chefs. A new global fresh fish program brings more than 80 types of fresh fish on board, sourced and served locally in regions around the world.
Travel Technology, Hospitality Management
Virgin Voyages | September 08, 2023
Virgin Voyages announced a $550 million funding round led by Ares Management for global expansion.
Founder Tom McAlpin transitions to Chairman of the Board, while Nirmal Saverimuttu takes over as CEO, bringing extensive experience from Virgin Voyages' early days.
Virgin Voyages looks forward to continued success and collaboration with investors, including Ares Management, to drive future growth and innovation.
Virgin Voyages, the award-winning cruise brand backed by Richard Branson's Virgin Group, has announced the completion of a $550 million fundraise led by Ares Management's Private Equity Group. This funding, including contributions from existing investors such as Virgin Group and Bain Capital, is poised to propel Virgin Voyages into international markets while enhancing the overall customer experience.
Partner and Co-Portfolio Manager of Special Opportunities in the Ares Private Equity Group, Aaron Rosen, remarked,
With this new investment alongside our partners at Virgin Group and Bain Capital, we believe the company is on strong footing to capitalize on its differentiated product and value proposition in the growing cruise industry.
[Source - Cision PR Newswire]
Established as a leading player in the industry, Virgin Voyages has swiftly gained recognition and accolades with a fleet serving various destinations and recent wins like topping the mega-ship category in Travel + Leisure's 2023 World's Best Awards and sweeping all five cruise categories in the 2023 Cruise Critic Cruisers' Choice Awards.
Alongside this development, Tom McAlpin, the founding CEO, is transitioning to the role of Chairman of the Board. Nirmal Saverimuttu is taking the reins as the new Chief Executive Officer, having formerly served as President and Chief Experience Officer. In addition, Nirmal Saverimuttu has been a foundational figure at Virgin Voyages since 2014, when he joined as Chief Commercial Officer after securing initial investments from the Virgin Group. His role expanded in 2021 to President and Chief Experience Officer, making him well-prepared to guide the brand into its next phase of growth and innovation.
Nirmal Saverimuttu, CEO of Virgin Voyages, said,
I want to send our deepest thanks, on behalf of all our Crew and the Board, to Tom for his leadership and passion for the business. We are so grateful for all he has done and are thrilled to continue to partner with him as our Chairman.
[Source – Cision PR Newswire]
Virgin Voyages is a trusted brand due to its crew's dedication and passion for offering remarkable experiences for its guests. Nirmal also expressed his anticipation of collaborating with the Ares team and Virgin Voyages' current investors to execute growth and expansion plans as the company contemplates its promising future.