NH Hotel Group, Technological Innovation for Business and Leisure

By NH | 13:08
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The 35th Edition of the International Tourism Fair (FITUR), which recently closed its doors, had more than 225,000 visitors.

At NH Hotel Group, we wanted to be the perfect host and surprise everyone who visited our stand by showing them our most cutting-edge technological innovation: 3D holographic technology. To do this, we installed a 16 square meter cube in our stand in which we projected different holographic messages featuring employees and friends of the Group, such as TV host Anne Igartiburu, designer Lorenzo Caprile, chef David Muñoz, and the international top model Eugenia Silva.

In addition, this year we were very proud to have the visit of their Royal Highnesses the King and Queen of Spain in our stand. They were the first to enjoy the 3D holographic technology firsthand with a welcome message from Federico J. González Tejera, CEO of NH Hotel Group.

This technology, permanently installed in our hotels, is part of our innovative technological product High Tech Made Easy, a pioneer in the hotel sector that also offers the next generation SMART Room System™ online videoconferencing system. High Tech Made Easy falls under the umbrella of “NH MEETINGS: inspire. create. enjoy”, NH’s value proposition for meetings and event’ segment. Through this new service for , our group seeks to make the most advanced technologies available to clients, in order to guarantee high performance meetings and impact as well as more personal and efficient conferences. 

This technology, permanently installed in our hotels, is part of our innovative technological product High Tech Made Easy, a pioneer in the hotel sector that also offers the next generation SMART Room System™ online videoconferencing system. High Tech Made Easy falls under the umbrella of “NH MEETINGS: inspire. create. enjoy”, NH’s value proposition for meetings and event’ segment. Through this new service for , our group seeks to make the most advanced technologies available to clients, in order to guarantee high performance meetings and impact as well as more personal and efficient conferences. 

 

 

NH Hotel Group is more than technology…

Over the course of this week of tourism, numerous managers of our company participated in various presentations and round tables featuring FiturTech, FiturGreen, and Fitur Know-How & Export, among others, in which they shared the innovations and projects that the group is carrying out.

Hugo Rovira, General Director of the Spain, Portugal and Andorra business unit, participated in the VII National Business Travel 2015 Conference where he highlighted the importance of commitment to excellence in service.

Our COO, Rufino Pérez, was also present in the FITUR Know How & Export Forum debate about “New Professional Profiles in the Tourism Sector”. He highlighted the company’s internship program for recent graduates and the importance of shared knowledge between consumers and hotel professionals, in order to offer the best service possible.

In the case of FiturGreen, our Environmental & Sustainability Manager, Mónica Chao, spoke about how we use technology to be efficient and thus contribute to the sustainability of our hotels. Our group won the “Rethink Hotel” prize, organized by the German company KNAUF, which recognizes the best global hotel sustainability project.

Alu Rodriguez, SVP IT & Organization, participated in the discussion panel “The New Traveler”, in the context of FiturTech, highlighting the need for collaboration between the IT Department and the Commercial Department in order to better understand consumers and their needs.

NH Collection Eurobuilding played an important role in the speeches of our managers. Pilar Rodríguez, Manager of Construction BU Spain, spoke about remodeling the company’s flagship, highlighting the extraordinary changes made to the hotel over three months of intense remodeling. Likewise, the head chef of NH Collection Eurobuilding, Luis Bartolomé, spoke about the hotel’s organic menus, another step toward offering sustainable gastronomy.

César Gómez, Manager of F&B BU Spain, expressed the commitment of the Group to offer more sustainable hotels to consumers in “Forum 2: The HUB”.

FITUR or How to visit more than 100 countries in five days

We also had the opportunity to visit the 5 continents through the different pavilions of FITUR, featuring the originality of the Portugal stand, which drew the attention of a large number of visitors for its portrait of their Royal Highnesses the King and Queen of Spain made from corks. Another of the most visited stands was Madrid, held in a football stadium where visitors could virtually test the power of their kick.

In addition, FITUR was the place where Vitoria passed the baton to Cáceres as the Capital of Spanish Gastronomy. To celebrate this recognition, they performed multiple shows and gave tastings of typical products in the Extremadura stand.

We hope to see you at the next edition of FITUR with many more innovations!

 

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Cork2Cork, NH’s sustainability program that is changing corks into hotels.

By NH | 10:29
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What is CORK2CORK?

You probably already know that cork is a very useful material that can be used to make many things including wine corks, shoes, surfboards, bulletin boards, coasters… but I bet you didn’t know that it can also be recycled to make coating and insulation that reduce noise pollution and air conditioning needs in buildings, improving their energy efficiency. Since 2011 our hotel chain, in collaboration with the world’s leading insolation and cork producers, Amorim, has been doing exactly this through our CORK2CORK Initiative.

Where do these two tons of natural cork come from?

We have been known for our environmental focus for years. For this reason, each time we uncork a bottle in one of our 77 hotels in Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Belgium or Holland we collect the corks to be recycled and reused.
Where do the corks go?
In our CORK2CORK sustainability program, we have collected a total of 1994 Kg of corks which instead of being thrown away, are given a new use. For example, the production of 8,000 m2 of pavement which is equal to the remodeling or construction of more than 300 rooms.

It doesn’t end here…

NH Hotel group has spent years advocating for environmental sustainability. We have focused on reducing CO2 emissions, water and energy consumption, and waste reduction… and we will continue to do this! As Mónica Chao Janeiro, NH Hotel Group Director of Environment and Sustainability, confirms “this initiative was very well received and its fantastic results encourage us to continue researching and implementing projects that promote responsible environmental practices in our work”.

 

 

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HOTELS WITH A HEART.

By NH | 10:16
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It isn’t often we have such an important reason to celebrate as this one. After the end of 2014, the NH Hotel Group will remember it as the year of the tenth anniversary of our social initiative, Hotels with a Heart. 

This initiative was born in 2004 when we started to work with Menudos Corazones Foundation. Our expectations were formidable and we can’t contain our surprise and excitement now that, one decade later, the program is not only continuing, but is stronger than ever. Now, 10 years of the program, we have collaborated with more than 300 social institutions and hospitals through all of our business units, supporting children with serious illnesses and their low-income families when they need a place to stay away from home.

 

 

In the last ten years, this journey has become a beautiful adventure in solidarity, which we have been committing to, a little more each day. Our hotels and our employees have become, during long days and nights, a second home and a family for many people in difficult and delicate times. For our employees, this has also been an unforgettable experience, as Maria Luz (NH Porta Barcelona) tells us:
“When they explained the project to us, I thought it would be very good to be able to help people in need during difficult times. It makes you feel good to think that your work has a helpful purpose.”

In celebration of our tenth anniversary, Hotels with a Heart program, this year facilitated the largest Christmas giving campaign our company has ever had, taking place in 9 countries with 57 of our hotels participating. We created a moving video based on a true story, explaining what Hotels with a Heart, a project of our Corporate Social Responsibility policy, is about. The results were very positive, with more than 75,000 views on different communication platforms. If you haven’t watched yet, we invite you to!

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Rome: 5 Things Not to Miss

By NH | 9:59
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It’s no secret that the Italian capital is a giant open air museum, full of historic images that form part of our DNA. Images that, even without having been there, are carved into our memory.

However, nothing compares to arriving there for the first time. When you visit, the sight of its monuments, the smell of its cuisine, its famous cappuccino, the frenetic noise of the center, and the spirit of the people and the city itself will win you over forever.

In this post, we will talk about 5 things not to miss when you visit the Italian capital, especially if it’s your first time.

1. Visit the Colosseum and imagine what happened in its dungeons.

The Roman Colosseum was inaugurated in the year 80 A.D. with a bloody festival which lasted 100 days and ended the lives of thousands of gladiators. It became an important meeting place in Roman society as it was the largest amphitheater in Rome and could accommodate more than 50,000 people during its battles and executions.

If you are interested in obtaining in-depth knowledge of the Colosseum, go for a guided visit. Be sure to purchase your ticket in advance and select the option to visit the subterranean dungeons. Given its age, you’ll be surprised to find that the colosseum is well preserved despite receiving around 7 million visitors per year.

2. Explore Trastevere and try a gelato.

Trastevere is an enchanting neighborhood to explore. It is outside of the center but very well connected to public transportation. You can get there easily by taking the tram from Plaza Largo di Torre Argentina. Its picturesque streets are filled with trattorias, gelaterias, and small traditional shops selling goods typical of the bohemian neighborhood. Enter the first gelateria you see, choose your favorite flavor, and enjoy this family friendly neighborhood, characterized by its small, winding, cobblestone streets. Of course, don’t forget to visit the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere, one of the oldest churches in Rome. Its exterior might not draw much attention, but the interior is sure to make your jaw drop.

3. Battle to throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain.

Concealed in the middle of hotels, restaurants, and shops, dating from the mid-1700s is one of the world’s most impressive fountains. La Fontana di Trevi was designed in the Baroque style, is filled with beautiful details and has been the scene of millions of stories both real and fiction. The fountain is currently undergoing restoration which will be finished in 2015 but with or without the construction, La Fontana di Trevi is always surrounded by tourists, so be sure to bring your good sense of humor. Don’t forget to follow the tradition of throwing a coin over your shoulder to ensure your return to Rome!

4. Enjoy Italian Cuisine.

Be sure to try one of Rome’s most popular and unforgettable dishes: Spaghetti Carbonara. We recommend the following restaurants to try the best of the best.
● Hostaria Romana. Via del Boccaccio, 1, 00187 Roma (near la Fontana di Trevi).
● Otello alla Concordia. Via della Croce, 81, 00187 Roma (near Piazza di Spagna).
● Da Danilo. Via Petrarca, 13. Esquilino, Roma (in the Termini área).

Before the spaghetti, don’t forget to order the famous antipasto, a typical Italian appetizer, which may surprise you with something like fiore de zucca.

5. Admire the Sistine Chapel and be part of its history.

Michael Angelo’s frescos are already more than 500 years old and admiring them will be an experience you’ll always remember. The only problem is that you’ll have to crane your neck to see all of the details but it’s worth it!
The artistic work in the Sistine Chapel marks a significant change in the history of art but Michael Angelo would never have guessed that his works, The Final Judgment and The Creation of Adam, would attract millions of people every year.
Access to the chapel is possible through the Vatican Museums, another place that we highly recommend. For this visit, be sure to set aside at least a couple of hours.
Aside from these 5 experiences, there is so much more to see and do in Rome. Rome is an open air museum, or as they would say it: ¡Roma, un museo a cielo aperto!

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México City: the colorful metropolis

By NH | 9:39
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Mexico City

 

When you land in México City, the first thing that you see is a metropolis that never ends. This city is plenty of colors, flavors and a vibrant history. Did you know that México City, with a population of more than 22 million people, is the largest Spanish speaking city in the world nowadays?

The best words to describe Mexico City are unique and unexpected. At this surprising city, you will see from Aztec dresses to Mexican hats and typical sweets, informal vendors selling chicken legs in the traffic jam to colorful crafts and souvenirs. But be careful: most of sweets, candies and lollypops are spicy!

Despite the fact that México is mainly known for Cancún or the Rivera Maya, it is also is a frequent connection for business travelers on their way to South America. A good option for accommodation is our NH Aeropuerto T2 México. The hotel is an impressive white and elegant building that offers 287 rooms and is located just 10 minutes away from the Foro Sol or Palacio de los Deportes, and 30 minutes from the beautiful Chapultepec Park and the main History Museum.

The most exciting places to visit are situated in the city center. El Zócalo is one of the biggest squares in the world. In the past, it was also the center of the ancient Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Mexican Empire. The Cathedral was built in the ruins of the main temple. Right next to it, you can see also de National Palace and the City Hall, with a Baroque style, and the National Library. In the middle, there is a big flag with the three colors that characterized the country and the food: Green, White and Red. Closed to El Zócalo, you can find our hotel NH Centro Histórico, with 105 comfortable rooms, gym and a useful service of bikes for rent.

The city also offers another Unesco World Heritage: Xochimilco, one of the best places to enjoy the Mexican culture. The canals of the park are plenty of colorful boats, known as trajineras. Along the canals, there are a lot of restaurants where you can taste the typical Mexican food.

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Brussels: architectural gems and creative corners

By NH | 13:46
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Brussels

The capital of a multicultural country and a diverse continent discovers much more than a exquisite square: The Grand Place, a marvelous masterpiece protected as a Unesco Word Heritage. It is the most iconic site of Belgium.

The city’s Town Hall is surrounded by public and private buildings of the 17th century and testifies the success of the city at that time. Every two years in August, an enormous flower carpet of 1.800 square meters is installed there, becoming the main attraction of the city.

But beside the marvelous square, Brussels also offers a complete list of places to go. Few hundred meters from the Grand Place, you can find the famous Manneken pis, the bronce sculpture of a boy urinating into a fountain’s basin. Tourists usually think on a bigger masterpiece, however it is one of the most remarkable sites to see in the surprising old city. 

From there it is easy to go to Mont des Arts where is the Royal Museums of Art and History and the Palais de Beaux Arts – Bozar with wonderful gardens. It is also close to Palace of Justice where you can enjoy beautiful sights of the city in the same area which is located the NH Brussels City Center, at the Avenue Louise, near by to the European Parliament. It is an important residential and commercial neighborhood. 

But Brussels is not only a historical city. The capital of Europe is also the legendary home of the comic book. It is the hometown of Tintin, Astèrix and Obélix and Lucky Luck. The city has a guided tour that includes buildings decorated with cartoons and the Belgian Comic Strip Center where visitors can discover a range of permanent exhibitions, illustrated with original artwork and unique objects.

The city also offers good connections to amazing medieval places as Bruges, an old city where it is easy to feel in a town 500 years ago. Along with a few other canal-based northern cities, such as Amsterdam, it is referred as “The Venice of the North”. The city is also well connected to Antwerp and even Paris where you can go in a 90 minutes trip. 

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Argentina: the best place to ski in October

By NH | 16:01
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Snow is not the same everywhere. Skiing at the end of the season, between September and October, is one of the options that come with the snow lovers who can’t wait for the start of the season in Spain. And the best place to do it is Argentina.

Catedral and Bariloche are the most internationally renowned for skiing places, but Argentina has 18 destinations to enjoy winter sports, most of them are located in Patagonia, in the farthest corner of the American continent where you can also enjoy glaciers and the end of the Andes.

The variety of ski slopes from Patagonia includes the most complete and luxurious facilities to the popular snow parks, a cheap option for those who want to save money. There are a variety of dining options and non-skiers can also enjoy options such as snowshoeing, sledding and the personal watercraft. You don’t have to be a professional to have fun and enjoy in the mountains in Argentina.

Catedral is one of the most popular tracks for skiers. Located just 15 kilometers from Bariloche, one of the major tourist cities in the country, Catedral has 1,200 hectares to enjoy the snow. Includes fifty tracks and roads with 38 lifts. For professionals and enthusiasts tricks and freestyle, it is a perfect place to perform jumps and shows an extraordinary style.

But the province of Santa Cruz, located between Chile and the Atlantic Ocean, offers the best scenery of snow Argentina, overlooking the glaciers and the natural monument, the famous glacier Perito Moreno. Valdelén Sport Center is located in an area where the Andes lose height. It has a powder snow envied by the rest of the tracks and offers restaurants, bars and facilities.

In that region, you can also find the Calafate Montain Park, a new sports center and La Hora del Chingue, offering great help and assistance to novice skiers. Further south, there are the southernmost ski stations in the world: Cerro Castor and Glaciar Martial Francisco Jerman Club Andino, with white and placid postcard views. 

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Zurich, the gateway to Switzerland

By NH | 17:26
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Zurich, the gateway to Switzerland

 

It is the main entrance, the front door of Switzerland with a complete cultural and leisure offerings. The Swiss economic engine is one of the easiest destinations from anywhere. The international airport has more than 150 connections to major cities in the world. It is located only ten minutes by train from the city center. There, the station, one of the main railway hubs of Europe, also opens the door to the rest of the country: the Jungfrau mountains, with five thousand feet, the ski slopes of Adelboden, the beautiful city of Interlaken, built in between two lakes, fascinating Lucerne, the capital Bern, the Italian style Lugano or the international Geneve. Zurich is next to everywhere. So it used to be the first destination for tourists and visitors in Switzerland.

Built on the end of the Limmat River, in Lake Zurich, Grossmunster church, with its two huge Romanesque twin towers, is one of the most iconic images of the city with the snowy Alps in the background. The city is a major European shopping gallery. Its main street, Bahnhofstrasse, was just 150 years ago the moat wall of Zurich. Today it is the most visited streets where international luxury brands try to get a spot. But Zurich is not only a showcase for the top fashion brands, luxury and accessories. In recent years, new designers created their own brands from scratch or even waste. Freitag is an example. Is the brand of a city where old tarps containers were converted on bags and fashion accessories. It is a symbol of modernity today.

The city is also a premier cultural destination. Zurich, with 366,000 inhabitants, has more than 50 museums, 14 of them dedicated to art. The Art Gallery, the Kunsthaus, one of the largest in the country, shows works as Monet’s Water Lilies, the Gates of Hell by Rodin and collections by Edvard Munch. The Bührle Foundation also competes with works by Tintoretto, Canaletto, El Greco, Goya, Rubens, Rembrandt, Monet, Van Gogh and Picasso.

In addition to the galleries, luxury and art, Zurich is also the city with the largest billboard music party activities in Switzerland. Each August the city celebrates the Street Parade, the most recognized techno party in the world. The famous nightclub Kaufleuten, one of the largest in the city, remains as the epicenter of the nightlife in Switzerland, but also other clubs as Mascotte, the oldest in town, is an excellent option with music from the eighties.

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The ecological guests in hotels: a new customer profile

By NH | 14:07
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The ecological hotels

They are very well informed about the latest technologies for reducing the environmental impact of hotel operations. They ask about the ecological commitment of companies, energy consumption and waste policy. The environmental impact is becoming a reason for choosing a hotel among those conscious clients with a high sense with the environment.

This type of guests generally come from Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland and they care about the compliance of the hotel operator with energy policies and sensitive environmental waste management. In this sense, more customers from other parts of the world are becoming aware of this fact.

Accordingly, hotels are starting to pay more attention to their environmental policy. The first reason laid on economical reasons: the energy costs are a major expense.

The entrepreneurs complain about the high growth in electricity consumption during  recent years. Lighting, air conditioning and providing hot water are huge expenses that hotels try to reduce in order to be more competitive.

However, hotels have also begun to take measures for responsible consumption because of the requirement of the clients. LED bulbs and low-power devices are becoming a common practice.  The presence of detectors (comprising a lighting system  that is activated by the passage or movement of persons) or isolating materials for saving energy are also some of the most utilized measures.

Moreover, guests have started to distinguish between different energy certificates such as the Green Light and Green building, European certifications for establishments that use efficient lighting and building measures respectively.

NH Hotels also have been highlighting their environmental achievements in recent years. Energy consumption has been reduced 25% in five years, water consumption by 31% and waste generation by 34% as a result of the sustainable objectives included in the corporation plans.

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The room of the future: how will it be?

By NH | 13:39
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The room of the future
It´s not easy to image the room of a hotel 20 years from now. There are several research and commercial project that try to approach on how a room of a hotel looks like in 2034. In many of them, IT companies imagine a hyperconnected room where the guest can see the screen of the devices projected on a transparent wall or even in the table or can interact with a digital concierge to decide places to visit and how to go there. May be it looks fancy and pretentious, but some of the applications and services could become useful.

Microsoft, Toshiba, Bang&Olufsen, PayTouch, Roca, and Guardian Glass are some of the companies that cooperate to design how it would be the future hotel rooms. In the last experience, the Spanish Instituto Tecnológico Hotelero put all the technology together and try to figure out the final result.

Use your fingers to open doors or to access hotel services could not be a reality within 20 years but more immediate. The system will provide safety to guests and hotel workers and everyone who enters and leaves will be recorded in computer systems. Payment for services performed within the hotel can also be made with the fingerprint, a simple and secure method for payments.

The temperature of the water, the intensity of the lights or the temperature of the room can be selected from the devices to be connected with the systems of the room. The host can set all parameters to their preference from one device.

But the room of the future has also saved room for personal image. The mirror is an interactive feature that displays on the host’s body the best combination of clothing that are in the closet, as imagined the drafters of the room.

The environment also can be decorated to suit the client: walls with all clear or dark colors, all graduated through the LED lights and screens that envelop the room.
The shower, sink and toilet will incorporate water-saving systems and it is likely that the hot water comes from solar panels, accessible technology today but could be extended in many of the hotels in the next twenty years.

The future will tell the innovations that were just imagination and the others that will become reality.

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