InterContinental tirana

IHG Hotels & Resorts signs InterContinental Tirana

InterContinental Tirana

IHG Hotels & Resorts signs InterContinental Tirana

June 28, 2022 – 

IHG® Hotels & Resorts (IHG®), one of the world’s leading hotel companies, is delighted to announce the signing of the Franchise Agreement with InterContinental Tirana, a brand debut for InterContinental Hotels & Resorts in Albania.

InterContinental Tirana

Due to open in 2025, IHG recently signed a Franchise Agreement with Mr. Ram Geci, Owner and President of Geci Group, one of Albania’s leading infrastructure companies, which also specialises in hospitality and tourism. The company has around 20 years’ experience in hospitality, having been a shareholder since 2004 and Sole Owner of Tirana International Hotel, Tirana, Albania, since 2011.

The new-build InterContinental Tirana hotel will have around 300 rooms and suites, a large conference centre with a ballroom and a capacity of up to 1,000 people for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions) events and weddings. There will also be a luxury spa, and a rooftop restaurant and bar with panoramic views of the city. The hotel will be located within Tirana’s main Skanderbeg Square, close to key attractions such as the National Historical Museum, Castle of Tirana, Opera House, Art Gallery and the main institutions like the Albanian Parliament, Ministries, National Bank of Albania and Tirana Municipality. The property is just 15 minutes’ drive from Tirana International Airport.

(Mrs) Willemijn Geels, VP Development Europe, IHG Hotels & Resorts, said: “As the world’s first luxury hotel brand, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is delighted to be partnering with Geci Group on its first property in Tirana, Albania’s capital city, cultural and economic hub. This is a great opportunity for IHG to expand within Albania, a key entry market for us, as well as grow our presence across The Balkans. It builds on momentum following the recently announced signing of Crowne Plaza Durrës – in Albania’s second largest city.”

Mr Ram Geci, Owner and President of Geci Group said: “We are delighted to be partnering with IHG on this exciting new-build project, on this first Agreement of Luxury Hotels, in the heart of Albania’s capital city, Tirana. Appealing to business and leisure travellers alike, InterContinental Tirana will be in a prime location providing some of the best hospitality experiences in Albania.”

Facilities at InterContinental Tirana will include a relaxing wellness and leisure area including an indoor pool, steam room, sauna, treatment rooms and a gym. There will be several restaurants, bars and cafés, plus a casino, kids club, library and extensive underground parking.

Bordering Greece, Serbia and Macedonia, Albania has a population of 2.9 million. Recognising the importance of tourism to Albania’s economy, the government has recently approved a set of tax breaks to help boost investment. In 2021, the total number of overseas tourists who visited Albania jumped 114% to 5.7 million people (source: INSTAT).

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Park Hyatt brand to Johannesburg

Hyatt to bring Luxury Park Hyatt brand to Johannesburg

Park Hyatt brand to Johannesburg

Hyatt to bring Luxury Park Hyatt brand to Johannesburg

June 27, 2022 – 

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced that a Hyatt affiliate entered into a management agreement with an affiliate of the Millat Group for the Winston Hotel in Rosebank, Johannesburg, to join the Hyatt portfolio as an affiliated hotel. The hotel will be available on Hyatt’s booking channels in the upcoming weeks. Following an extensive refurbishment, the hotel is expected to rebrand to Park Hyatt Johannesburg in early 2023, marking the re-introduction of the Park Hyatt brand to South Africa, signifying Hyatt’s focus on growing its luxury brands in the destinations that matter most to travelers, World of Hyatt members, customers, and owners.

Park Hyatt brand to Johannesburg

“We are delighted to continue building on our relationship with the Millat Group and add Park Hyatt Johannesburg to Hyatt’s growing collection of luxury properties throughout the African continent,” said Ludwig Bouldoukian, Regional Vice President Development Middle East Africa for Hyatt International. “Park Hyatt hotels are found in the world’s most premier destinations and this development in Rosebank demonstrates a commitment to catering to both domestic and international high-end travelers who are looking for an oasis of calm and refinement, highly attentive personal service and elevated experiences in an intimate environment, while still enjoying the vibrancy of Johannesburg.”

The refurbishment of the hotel will be overseen by Yabu Pushelberg, an award-winning global designer that has previously worked on hotels such as Park Hyatt New York, Park Hyatt Shenzhen, and Park Hyatt Bangkok, as well as some of the world’s leading luxury brands, including Bergdorf Goodman and LVMH. Yabu Pushelberg’s thoughtful and rigorous approach to design will revitalise the hotel while celebrating the heritage and craftsmanship of its locale. Highly curated interiors and contemporary architecture will combine indoor and outdoor elements, inviting guests to lose themselves in a romantic and layered experience rooted in the surrounding landscape.

Once the hotel joins the Park Hyatt brand, it is expected to be popular with business and leisure guests alike, offering understated luxury and an elevated home away from home experience with highly personalised, intuitive, and fully engaged service; renowned art and design; a profound reverence for culture; and exceptional food and wine. The hotel’s highly convenient location in Rosebank is within walking distance of the area’s lively bars, popular restaurants, and notable galleries. Guests can enjoy easy access to Rosebank Gautrain Station, as well as thriving shopping and entertainment attractions, including The Zone and Rosebank Mall.

All 30 guestrooms and suites will be fitted with king size beds, professionally equipped workstations, and en-suite bathrooms. The hotel’s restaurant will include a spacious dining room and an outdoor terrace for refined, al-fresco dining, overlooking its picturesque swimming pool. The hotel will also feature an atmospheric bar with an open-air courtyard, as well as a stylish multi-purpose event space for conferences and meetings, accommodating up to 60 guests.

Once completed, the refurbishment will complement the world-class sophistication and understated elegance for which the Park Hyatt brand is known. Guests can expect personalised, considered experiences and high-end service that will exceed their expectations of a luxury stay in Johannesburg.

“We are excited to work with Hyatt again. The plans for Park Hyatt Johannesburg represent an incredibly exciting addition to our hotel portfolio,” said Hamza Farooqui, the Millat Group’s CEO. “We have seen a considerable uptake in domestic and international travel, from both a leisure and a business travel perspective. Hyatt and Millat’s proven understanding of luxury travel will ensure that the renovated hotel offers a world-class product and service never before seen in South Africa.”

This marks the fourth collaboration between Hyatt and the Millat Group in South Africa, joining Hyatt Regency Cape Town, Hyatt House Johannesburg Sandton, and Hyatt House Johannesburg Rosebank.

Hyatt’s portfolio in Africa consists of 13 hotels, including Hyatt Regency Johannesburg, Hyatt Regency Algiers Airport, Hyatt Regency Taghazout, Hyatt Place Taghazout Bay, Hyatt Regency Casablanca, Hyatt Regency Dar es Salaam, The Kilimanjaro, Hyatt Regency Addis Ababa , Hyatt Regency Cairo West, and Park Hyatt Zanzibar.

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Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Athens will open in 2026

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Athens

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Athens

June 27, 2022 –  Hard Rock International Commences Partnership with GEK TERNA Group to Create a Luxury Resort and Casino in the Heart of the Athens Riviera

The renowned brands kicked off the partnership with a special event in Athens, the home of the luxury resort, casino and entertainment venue set to open in 2026

Hard Rock International and GEK TERNA Group held a special event in Athens yesterday signaling the official start of their partnership for the construction and operation of an integrated resort and casino, located in the iconic area of the Athens Riviera, within the context of “The Ellinikon” development. Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Athens, which is set to open in 2026, will be a unique destination in Europe combining a five-star luxury hotel, a world class gaming floor, a premier meeting and convention space, a state-of-the-art entertainment venue, internationally renowned food and beverage, luxurious Rock® Spa and Pool Complex, and a high-end retail promenade.

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Athens

“We are thrilled to announce the partnership with GEK TERNA Group and further expand Hard Rock’s reach across the globe in the great City of Athens,” said Jim Allen, Hard Rock International Chairman. “This development will bring over 3,000 permanent jobs to the people of Greece and we look forward to bring our unique brand of entertainment and provide an unparalleled experience for guests of all ages.”

“Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Athens will create a premium tourism spot, expected to offer employment to thousands of people, yield significant revenues to the public sector, and add value to Greece’s brand” said George Peristeris, Chairman and CEO of GEK TERNA Group. “Along with Hard Rock we are realizing a private investment of over 1 billion euros, reaffirming our trust in Greece’s prospects and potential.”

The design of Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Athens draws its inspiration from basic Greek elements such as the sea, the arts and ancient mythology, which it combines with the modern requirements of architecture and the inescapable need for harmonious integration of the project in its environment and location. Open spaces, gardens and water features are key elements of the project’s design, with total green open space covering close to 205,000 m2.

The central Tower draws its inspiration from nautical references, incorporating in its design the waves, the sails and the lighthouse. Built on three levels, the Tower has three different orientations corresponding to the reference points located within the imaginary triangle that is formed around the project: the Acropolis, the sea and Mount Hymettus. Its iconic shape will serve as a symbol of the region and reference the importance of the connection between land, sea and sky.

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Athens will be an international destination, offering its visitors an exciting mix of entertainment, food and beverage and accommodations, embracing the Mediterranean climate and providing special outdoor spaces.

The development brings a vibrant casino of just under 15,000 m2, comprising of 200 tables and 2,000 gaming machines. The Tower consists of more than 1,000 guest rooms and suites, totaling almost 3,500 beds overlooking the waterfront or views across Athens to the Parthenon. The project also includes the highest outdoor rooftop terrace in Athens, with a rooftop pool deck that consists of Bars, the Rock® Spa and Body Rock Fitness, celebrating the year-around sunshine and pleasant temperatures with indoor-outdoor connections.

The Hard Rock Live’s theater is designed to entertain audiences of 3,000, while the stage extends to the exterior for outdoor festivals and concerts with an additional 7,500 seats. Inspired by the ancient Greek amphitheater, the outdoor lawn is bringing together culture and entertainment, harmonically bridging the Hard Rock brand with the Greek lifestyle.

An outdoor village with a variety of retail, high-end local and international restaurants, dinning terraces and bar and lounge spaces encompasses the casino, while the conference and exhibition center which exceed 23,000 m2, provide a large expo hall, ball rooms, meeting areas and support spaces.

The 30-year concession is a partnership between Hard Rock International (51%) and GEK TERNA Group (49%), with the latter being also responsible for the entire construction of the project, which is expected to begin within the first months of 2023 and last close to 3 years, setting the opening of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Athens in 2026.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Athens is the newest addition to Hard Rock International’s extensive portfolio with venues in over 70 countries spanning 265 locations that include owned/licensed or managed Hotels, Casinos, Rock Shops®, Live Performance Venues and Cafes.

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Blackjack – How to play Blackjack – a popular card game

Blackjack

Blackjack – how to play Blackjack

This game is also known as Twenty-One. If you visit a casino, it sure helps to know the rules.
James Bond certainly seems to be a genius at it.

Blackjack rules

 When you are able to count cards, the odds may be in your favor.

Maybe you have heard of Ed Thorp, one of the most successful money managers in history. His fortune and career started with trip to Las Vegas in the late 1950s.  Find out more about Ed Thorp and his Blackjack successes.

Even if you have not played it before, Blackjack is one of the most attractive casino games for players.

History of Blackjack
It all started in the 18th century in France – it was called Vingt-et-un.

Today, it is a game that can be found in any casino in the USA.

Some basics
The house is the dealer and remains standing, the players are seated. The dealer shuffles, deals and handles all bets. 

Cards

The standard 52-card pack is used, but in most casinos several decks of cards are shuffled together. The six-deck game (312 cards) is the most popular. In addition, the dealer uses a blank plastic card, which is never dealt, but is placed toward the bottom of the pack to indicate when it will be time for the cards to be reshuffled.

The Goal

Each participant tries to beat the dealer by getting  as close to 21 as possible, without going over 21, otherwise, game over! The ace can be worth 1 or 11, the individual player can decide.

Betting on Blackjack

Each player places a bet, in chips, in front of them, like you can see in the picture. This is one lucky player so far.

The Shuffle and Cut

The dealer thoroughly shuffles until all the cards have been mixed and combined. The dealer designates one of the players to cut, and the plastic insert card is placed so that the last 60 to 75 cards or so will not be used.

Each player except the dealer receives two cards face up, and the dealer receives one card face up and one card face down.

What is playing a Blackjack?

If a player’s first two cards are an ace and a “ten-card” you immediately have 21. This is a natural or “blackjack.” If the dealer is not as lucky, the player receives 150% of their bet. If the player and the dealer both have 21, the chips are given back.

Say “Hit” or “Stand”
Once the game starts, you can “stand” (not ask for another card) or “hit” (you get another card.

When the dealer has served every player, the dealers face-down card is turned up. If the total is 17 or more, it must stand. If the total is 16 or under, they must take a card. The dealer must continue to take cards until the total is 17 or more.

Splitting pairs
If you have two of the same cards (two Jacks or two 6’s), you can split and run two games

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