Sunday, 15 November 2020

Westin, Sheraton Zagreb Also Create Version of "Hotel Office" Offer

November the 15th, 2020 - As the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to cause enormous issues for travel and tourism, several Croatian hotels have turned to ''hotel office'' offers. Two popular hotels here in the capital, Westin and the Sheraton Zagreb, have decided to dip their toes in such an offer.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, through active participation in the global programme of the world's largest hotel group, Marriott International, under whose brands the Westin and the Sheraton Zagreb operate, HUP Zagreb's hotels have joined the growing trend of supplying ''hotel offices''. Specifically, Westin and the Sheraton Zagreb offer two options, Stay Pass and Day Pass, as part of Marriott's "work anywhere" programme, as has been found out from HUP Zagreb.

The Stay Pass programme includes bed and breakfast in one of the rooms or suites, early check-in (06:00) and late check-out (18:00), free access to a small meeting room, a welcome coffee, tea or fresh organic juice, a private workspace (desk and chair), enhanced Wi-Fi and connectivity, as well as credit for consumption in restaurants and bars. Under this programme, guests also have free access to the pool, spa and fitness centre at the Westin.

Both of these Zagreb hotels also offer a Day Pass programme, they also offer packages which will cover several days, with free parking, use of the hotel's business centre, lunch and refreshing healthy juices and snacks throughout the day to boost immunity. The total price of the Day Pass package is HRK 560 for 1 day, HRK 1,400 for a three-day service and HRK 2,600 for a seven-day service, with the proviso that the Day Pass which covers several days doesn't need to be used continuously.

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Friday, 23 October 2020

Zagreb Westin: Hotel Opens Studio for Virtual and Hybrid Events

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes on the 21st of October, 2020, the Zagreb Westin Hotel, which operates within the Rovinj-based Maistra, is the first hotel in Zagreb to offer the market an audio-visual studio, in response to all the challenges of organising events, conferences and congresses during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

As has since been learned from Maistra, the Zagreb Westin Hotel, in cooperation with the local company Ivas Group, conceived, designed and equipped an audio visual studio that has all the necessary equipment and technology (stage, speaker, LCD screens, smart flip chars, sound system, recording service and live broadcast) for the successful maintenance of virtual and hybrid events. The new visual studio is part of the Maksimir Hall, which can accommodate about 30 participants, while other participants get involved through online platforms. A coffee break, as an always desirable option, is also available.

With this studio for virtual and hybrid events, the Zagreb Westin Hotel has fully responded to what are currently highly specific, safety-oriented market demands, Darko Radetic, the director of the hotel, pointed out that this is also the only hotel in the City of Zagreb that remained open throughout this entire difficult year, despite the pandemic and the earthquake which struck back in March.

"In addition to fully aligning our business with all of the epidemiological measures, we have taken it a step further and designed this product. Although there's still interest in organising MICE events in the classical sense, there are more and more inquiries for holding virtual or hybrid events, so we expect that this, a unique product on our market, will attract many partners and guests,'' said Radetic.

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Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Zagreb Hotels at 14% Capacity, Can Skiing Season Save Them?

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 28th of September, 2020, hotels on the Adriatic may be able to relax because they have finished with their season with higher-than-expected traffic, which could cover part of the costs and, with the help of state aid, ensure survival until spring. However, the agony for those of us in Zagreb and Zagreb hotels continues, which could be stopped by the reopening of borders within the EU, which is being intensively supported by the European Commission.

The current statistics of Zagreb hotels in September are sad to say the very least. In the period from the 1st to the 24th of September, there were 16,915 arrivals and 29,750 overnight stays realised, ie 19 percent of arrivals and 21 percent of overnight stays realised in the same period last year. So far, the leading market for Zagreb hotels is domestic, followed by Germany, Italy, Israel and the United States. Out of 71 hotels in Zagreb, 59 hotels currently have tourist traffic, 12 are closed, and the occupancy rate is currently at a rather miserable 14 percent. As of Friday, there were 1253 guests staying in Zagreb hotels, according to eVisitor. The Palace, which needs to repair the consequences of the earthquake, is not open, and the famous Hotel Dubrovnik is working at half of its normal capacity.

The Sheraton was recently opened which had several prom dinners and has some guests, but not all rooms are open. Apart from the Sheraton and the Westin, the largest hotelier in Zagreb, HUP Zagreb, as part of Maistra, opened the Zagreb, International and Jadran hotels, and Panorama was closed.

It has been briefly stated that "in these uncertain times, the hotel's operating plan depends on booking and their profitability", which means that any of these hotels could close again if there is no demand. The result is weaker than in the summer months for a number of reasons.

"Most of the hotels that opened in the summer were counting on guests passing through on their way down to the Adriatic, but they were waiting for the autumn in which they hoped for at least a somewhat increased traffic of the business segment and events. Then, at the end of August, the borders were closed, ie Croatia was put in the red zone, and the decision of the Medical Chamber that no rallies or training would be held, which is a segment that was our leader in the autumn months,'' explained Josipa Jutt Ferlan, the director of Zagreb City Hotels.

If this situation lasts, the winter will be difficult for Zagreb hotels, but the opening of the first hotels and resorts at European ski resorts, they hope, could start the opening of borders, flights, traffic and some sense of normality.

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Monday, 28 September 2020

Businesswoman Irena D Stays in Two Zagreb Hotels, Refuses to Pay

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 28th of September, 2020, rising entrepreneur and financial manager, 36-year-old Irena D., used the services of two Zagreb hotels - the Esplanade Hotel and the Jagerhorn in Ilica - on two occasions, and for 14 nights with the services of a minibar and restaurant food and drinks, she spent but still owes as much as 12,887 kuna, as Jutarnji list writes.

From the 23rd to the 30th of December 2019, she stayed in room 239 of the Esplanade Hotel, where she ate and drank in the Le Bistro restaurant, and approved each expense with her own signature on the account of the room in which she was staying. She damaged the company Esplanade Oleander for 10,288 kuna.

After that, she checked in on January the 18th at the Jagerhorn Hotel in Ilica, where she stayed until January the 23rd, 2020. She gave the employees a bank card, and when entering the PIN, she entered the wrong one twice. The third time she refused to enter it for fear of the bank blocking the account, so she promised to run to the bank and withdraw the money.

However, she refused to hand over an identity document to the receptionist as a guarantee and entered into a verbal conflict with the hotel director. She escaped from the hotel without paying the bill, and damaged the company Ilicki rog for 2,599 kuna.

Both Zagreb hotels have filed charges for fraud, and the Municipal State Attorney's Office is demanding 11 months of community service from the entrepreneur, who has already been criminally reported and convicted.

Irena also commented on the whole case, saying that as far as the Esplanade was concerned, there was confusion because they got her credit card on display during the check-in, and when she left, she did a physical written check-out and left.

"They noticed a problem, to which I told them that there were no problems and that they should send me a written invoice. After that, they started falsely accusing me. I don't accept the charges and I don't intend to pay anything. And it’s not the first time I’ve stayed there privately and on business. I've suffered damages and I don't want to pay anything, not because I wasn't there, but because no one has the right to accuse me of anything because I duly handed over my documents and cards to them,'' said Irena D. to the police.

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Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Zagreb Sheraton Hotel Reopening Doors, But Only Temporarily...

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes on the 13th of July, 2020, given the scale of the economic crisis caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the huge damage caused, especially to tourism, with estimates of falling revenues of up to 80 percent, Maistra says that it is difficult to say anything definite about the outcome of this tourist season. Despite that, the Zagreb Sheraton Hotel is opening its doors...

After almost four long months of forced break from operations due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the workers of the Zagreb Sheraton Hotel started preparations to reopen at the end of July. As has since been learned in Maistra, which includes the hotel company HUP Zagreb and Sheraton, the opening will most likely be only temporary, in order to host a group from the United States.

''Back at the end of May, we opened all of our camps in Istria, and during June, the Rovinj hotels Grand Park Hotel Rovinj, Lone, Eden, Amarin, Istria were opened, and on Friday, the Monte Mulini hotel started operating again.

The Westin and International hotels are currently open in Zagreb, while the opening of the remaining part of our Zagreb portfolio will depend on the demand for that. The Zagreb Sheraton Hotel will be temporarily opened to accommodate guests from the United States. In the destinations of Vrsar and Dubrovnik, we've also started with the gradual opening of hotels and facilities,'' they explained from the aforementioned hotel company.

Croatian tourism is an incredibly important part of the domestic economy, making up 20 percent of the country's GDP and generating enormous profits throughout summer. The previous record summers Croatia experienced merely by lying on its laurels seem a distant memory when compared to the current virus-dominated situation.

"Reservations for July, August and September are encouraging so far, but it all depends on the epidemiological situation in the countries that are our main emitting markets, the border crossing regime, the recovery of airlines, which is especially important for bringing guests to the south of Croatia,'' they stated from Maistra.

For more on travel during the coronavirus era, follow our dedicated section.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Zagreb Esplanade Hotel Offers Guests Ability to Download Menu and News

The popular Esplanade Hotel in the Croatian capital city of Zagreb is experiencing a massive drop in bookings, but has taken it upon itself to offer its guests the ability to download its menus and newspapers via their smartphones, safely and in a contactless way.

Croatian tourism has taken a very heavy blow thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has reared its ugly head once again following a couple of weeks of peace after the questionable holding of a tennis event in Zadar. As such, Croatian hotels have little choice but to try to ride the storm during which the waves keep getting higher.

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 23rd of June, 2020, Zagreb's Esplanade Hotel currently has an occupancy rate of just 20 percent, which, although low, is much better than it was back in May, but the situation is unpredictable because reservations are being made from today to tomorrow.

The above was revealed by the hotel's director, Ivica Max Krizmanic, on the occasion of the presentation of the hotel's new promotional film.

''Last year, we had more than 3000 overnight stays in this period, and this year we've only a little more than 400 of them. In the last month, most of our guests came from Croatia (28%) and neighbouring countries, Serbia (12%), Germany (10%), the US (5%) and the UK (4%), and those who came were here mainly for business.

The rest of them are tourists, individuals, and there are currently no groups, there probably won’t even be any soon, either,'' Krizmanic pointed out.

The Esplanade Hotel has offered guests the contactless ability to download the hotel's menus and daily newspapers via their smartphones, and the hotel’s own mobile app allows for possible room service orders.

The Health Club and limousine service are running but continue to take very strict precautions in their operations, and the rooms are thoroughly cleaned, ventilated and placed in 48-hour isolation.

"In these uncertain times, we shot a promotional video in which we're trying to bring potential guests closer to what we offer, and that's a combination of a sense of security, luxury and the Esplanade Hotel's special charm," said Krizmanic.

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Sunday, 12 April 2020

Zagreb Westin Hotel Still Operating, What Are The Special Measures?

The few people who do not live here in Zagreb but who have somehow found themselves travelling through the city during these strange days can count the hotels that remain open on their fingertips. One of them is the popular Zagreb Westin Hotel.

As Dora Koretic/Novac writes on the 12th of April, 2020, there are exactly seven of them, and the largest among them that, despite the coronavirus pandemic, is keeping its doors open to travellers is the aforementioned hotels on the once busy Savska cesta.

Until recently, it was central place for travellers who have somewhat deeper pockets, boasting a bar in which a good part of the Zagreb business scene was arranging various jobs. These days, however, it is eerily quiet, witha reduced workforce twiddling their thumbs and wondering when the epidemic will pass.

Otherwise a member of the Marriott Group, the Zagreb Westin Hotel has remained open as the only facility belonging to a major hotel chain in the Croatian capital city, following the announcement of the closure of hotel facilities, mainly to accommodate guests arriving in Croatia on a mission, such as medical staff, European and international officials, and of course - scientists.

According to the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ), there are so few people in Zagreb at the moment who don't actually live here that they would not be able to fill a single floor of the Zagreb Westin Hotel.

As touched on before, at the moment, there are seven open hotels in Zagreb. Although they didn't want to disclose how many guests are currently staying at the Westin, it has since been learned that during the pandemic, the hotel is mostly occupied by individual guests from Croatia and a small number of foreigners, mainly guests from the USA, and special measures have been introduced due to these unprecedented circumstances in accordance with the recommendations of Croatian health institutions, and especially with regard to the restrictions imposed by the Civil Protection Headquarters throughout the country.

Thus, we've learned that all of the Zagreb Westin Hotel's catering facilities are closed, so there is no hotel bar or dining at the hotel restaurant. However, in order for the hotel guests to be able to receive food normally, all meals are prepared in the hotel kitchen and delivered directly to people's rooms.

"We're always focused on the well-being of our guests and employees, even in these unexpected circumstances," a statement from the Zagreb Westin said.

Interestingly, despite the fact that there are no guests, nor is it likely that there will be any soon, they say from the Zagreb Westin Hotel that they didn't significantly change the hotel's pricing policy at the time of the pandemic.

"The overnight rates have not changed significantly due to this new situation. In particular, an overnight stay in a double room from April 8-9 amounts to €91, €122 for bed and breakfast,'' it was revealed.

Maistra hasn't disclosed what additional services are available to guests during these special circumstances, but given the regulations and the special regime, the spa and wellness centre are not currently available at the hotel, and from Maistra they advise that, in accordance with the recommendations of health institutions, they provide guests room service and food delivery services exclusively, with all staff equipped with the proper masks and gloves.

Make sure to follow our dedicated section for more on coronavirus in Croatia.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Zagreb Hotels International, Sheraton, Panorama, Jadran Closing Today

Several popular Zagreb hotels are now shutting their doors, with one of them remaining open, but how long that will last is unknown.

Hotels are putting the keys in the locks of their respective doors across the country. Zagreb, the capital city of the country presiding over the EU Council which was counting on big revenue from the numerous official EU meetings which were set to take place in its hotels - is closing their doors.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 18th of March, 2020, as of today, the Zagreb hotels Sheraton, Panorama, International and Jadran are closing their doors, so far, only Westin remains in operatation.

Certain workers who are working on fixed-term contracts will not see their employment contracts extended, others will go on annual holiday from now until April the 20th, 2020, and if the situation persists, unfortunate workers will be informed of further proceedings as the coronavirus situation unfolds.

Like others, until just a few weeks ago, HUP Zagreb was actively looking for employees for its Zagreb hotels, which were due to experience excellent revenue as a result of Croatia's EU Presidency. As has since been learned, the situation was being treated as normal until around the March, when the number of guests started to decrease, having been reduced to just a few here and there over the last, crucial week.

As the coronavirus situation continues to hold the global economy in its tight grip, Zagreb hotel employees sadly don't know what will happen after their annual holiday expires if the hotels do not reopen their doors by then.

It is not known until when Westin will continue to operate normally, which, according to unofficial information, could soon become Zagreb's only hotel to have remained open. Namely, as was announced yesterday, new measures are planned to be adopted in Parliament today to try to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, which should include the closure of restaurants and hotels.

Make sure to follow our dedicated section for more on coronavirus in Croatia.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Arena Hospitality Group Reveals New Zagreb Hotel Location

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 4th of February, 2020, the Arena Hospitality Group confirmed on Tuesday that their latest investment, which will be in a new Zagreb hotel, will be located in Amruseva street, confirming unofficial information which has been circulating since last week.

As is already known, the Arena Hospitality Group, owned by the Dutch PPHE Group, announced on Thursday that it is investing in a luxury hotel in the historic part of the City of Zagreb. Since then, it has been unofficially learned that the facility is being rented by the Jewish Community of Zagreb.

"We plan to open a modern, upscale five-star hotel in Amruseva street with approximately 120 rooms, meeting rooms, a wellness centre and a restaurant. The architectural project is under construction and the total investment will be known soon, as will as brand under which the hotel will operate,'' they stated from the Arena Hospitality Group when discussing their new Zagreb hotel investment, noting that they will soon be able to reveal more and offer a clearer picture.

In addition to their impressive Croatian portfolio in Pula, which will be joined by the new Zagreb hotel in about two years' time, PPHE Hotel Group has hotels across Europe in some of the continent's most popular cities, including Berlin, Budapest, London, Utrecht and Amsterdam, operating under the desirable Park Plaza and Art'otel brand. They recently announced the opening of another new hotel in Europe, more precisely in London and one much further afield, across the Atlantic in New York.

Last spring, they opened the Holmes Hotel in the City of London, followed by the opening of the Park Plaza Vondelpark Hotel in Amsterdam in the autumn, in which they invested a massive 10 million euros, six million euros was invested in the renovation of the Park Plaza Hotel in Utrecht.

In addition to the new Zagreb hotel, the opening of Art'otel London Hoxton in the United Kingdom will be announced in 2023, which it will manage itself, and a project is underway in New York.

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Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Victims of Fascism Square: Former Student Home to Become Hotel?

As Novac/Dora Koretic writes on the 4th of February, 2020, after an attractive piece of property on Zagreb's Victims of Fascism Square has sat empty almost a decade, the building that once housed students and boasted a student polyclinic could finally have a new, much more specific function.

This empty building on Victims of Fascism Square would likely take on a tourism-oriented function, given that the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, which also owns the property, recently launched a non-binding tender, with up to eleven bidders, with most of them interested in converting this attractive building into a hotel.

This was revealed by HAZU President Velimir Neidhardt in an interview with Nedjeljni Jutarnji, confirming that interest in turning the property into yet another new Zagreb hotel is extremely high, but investors who see a polyclinic or a private university being placed there also applied for the competition.

''It is true that a total of eleven bidders applied for the tender, but it was a non-binding tender, after which, a binding tender will be announced very soon. We can't find reveal any of the names of the bidders so far,'' a statement from HAZU said in response to an inqury on the matter.

A little more detail was revealed by Neidhardt in his interview for Jutarnji, and he confirmed that the facility is likely to become a hotel, although HAZU has been negotiating with the Department of Science for years, who have been wanting to find a more convenient location for its headquarters.

"For many years, we've been negotiating with the Ministry of Science who have a desire to move here... We expect the Ministry to make itself known. If it doesn't decide on that, then we'll have to go with other projects. We will definitely break into all that within a month or two. We're getting a new investment,'' Neidhardt announced. However, as the aforementioned publication reports from the Ministry, no agreement was reached between them and HAZU, and it is unlikely that this will happen any time soon.

The idea has faced a lot of criticism, however.

A non-binding tender for the lease of the building was launched back in November last year, and it was evident that HAZU was being offered the lease a building of four dilations in an attractive, protected urban area of the city, involving a protected monument of pre-war architectural heritage. In the general urban plan, it is located in zone D for public use and, most importantly of all, requires a thorough renovation before being put to use for any purpose.

Otherwise, it is a building for which HAZU has received quite a lot of criticism over the years, especially since the Academy got rid of the "Ivan Mestrovic" student home from the building back in 2011 after a lawsuit, and later the student polyclinic after the lease between HAZU and the Health Centre expired.

From then until today, that is to say, for nine years now, this attractive piece of real estate in the centre of the city, more precisely located on Victims of Fascism Square, has been lying totally vacant, and although journalists have occasionally questioned what academics will do with this valuable property over the last nine years, until just one month ago, it wasn't possible to get a concrete answer from HAZU at all.

The courtyard building covers a total of 8,500 gross square feet, and it also has a driveway and some ancillary buildings. The estimated lease value in the non-binding tender has not been defined, which means that the number of tenderers in the binding tender may be slightly different.

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