Arabian Travel News provides a round-up of the latest hotel and resort openings, new airline routes and all other travel-related announcements…

In Accommodation:

Hilton has re-launched its meetings offering.
Hilton has re-launched its meetings offering.

• Armani open for reservations: Armani Hotel Dubai has started taking bookings ahead of its official opening on March 18. Room categories available at the 160-room property include 24 Armani Studios, 44 Armani Classic rooms, 38 Armani Premiere rooms, 36 Armani Suites, six Armani Executive and six Armani Ambassador Suites, and five Armani Signature Suites.

The hotel will also feature eight restaurants, the region’s first and only Armani/Privé club, the world’s first in-hotel Armani/SPA, plus Armani/Dolci a chocolate and sweets store, the Armani/Fiori flower shop and accessories outlet Armani/Galleria.

• Hilton’s meetings offer: Hilton Worldwide has re-launched its ‘1 in 5’ meetings promotion where one in five and up to 20 attendees go free at meetings held in 2010 at selected properties throughout the UK, Europe, the Middle East and across several brands — Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Hilton, Doubletree by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton by Hilton hotels.

• ‘Dining in the Dark’ in Oman: Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay in Oman has introduced a ‘Dining in the Dark’ experience at the resort’s Vinotheque wine cellar restaurant, described as a “uniquely overwhelming culinary experience” by Six Senses bosses.

By removing sight, diners are forced to rely on taste, they say.

In Transit:

• Qatar Airways launch dates: Qatar Airways has unveiled the launch dates of four new routes. The four times weekly Copenhagen service will launch March 30; the four times weekly Ankara operation will start on April 5; the daily Tokyo via Osaka service will commence April 26; and the Barcelona service will start June 7.

• Etihad heads to Japan: Etihad now flies four times weekly to Nagoya, Japan, via Beijing. The frequency will increase to five flights weekly on March 29. The route is served by an Airbus A330. Etihad will also launch Tokyo services on March 27. The airline will offer codeshare services with Japan’s ANA.

• ‘Boarding Card Delights’ from Jet: Jet Airways’ has launched the ‘Boarding Card Delights’ programme, offering passengers travelling with Jet Airways, Jet Airways Konnect and JetLite discounts across five categories: retail, hotels, restaurants, lifestyle and car rental. To qualify, passengers need to present their boarding cards to participating partners along with photo id. The offer lasts until April 30.

• Qatar’s Asian expansion: Qatar Airways has revealed plans to expand its operations in South East Asia and has already upped frequencies to KL to 11 weekly and to Bali (via Singapore) to daily. The airline’s Jakarta service has been de-linked from Singapore and now runs direct while the Doha-Singapore-Bali route is served by a new Boeing 777 aircraft. Daily services to Tokyo will also be launched this year.

What’s Coming soon:

• Hotel classification: The Dubai Department of Commerce and Tourism Marketing has said it will reveal the new Dubai hotel classification system soon. The system, which is said to introduce several new leisure-based categories, has already been postponed twice.

• Jumeirah heads to Bangkok: The Jumeirah Group has been appointed by Country Group (Thailand) to manage a luxury hotel in Bangkok. The 305-room, five-star Jumeirah Bangkok will be located on the Chao Phraya River, close to the Sathorn Bridge and Bangkok’s Central Business District and is scheduled to open in 2014.

• Branson’s Caribbean submarine: Richard Branson has launched a new underwater experience in the Caribbean under his Virgin Limited Edition brand.He has unveiled Necker Nymps — a deep-flight three-person aero submarine that has been likened to an underwater aircraft and is the first of its kind to hit the market.