Hotels & Hospitality Development News in Central Florida

Everest Group reveals hotel brands for Disney-area resort

The Nickelodeon Suites Resort in Orlando was rebranded as a Holiday Inn property in 2017, but the flag could be making a comeback at a new kid-friendly resort near Disney.

Nickelodeon Hotels could be making to a return to the Orlando market — and bringing back its world-famous slime bucket — as part of a development that would also introduce two new luxury hotel brands to the Florida market.

The kid-friendly brand operated a 777-room Nickelodeon Suites Orlando, The Nick, on Continental Gateway Drive from 2005-2017 before shutting it down and embarking on a $30 million renovation to rebrand it as Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites.


Nickelodeon Resorts is one of three brands named in a promotional video briefly posted on social media Tuesday by an executive with The Everest Group of Companies, the Canadian developer behind the Everest Place mixed-use resort district on Kissimmee’s W192 tourism district. The branding could extend to the planned water park at Everest Place that would be adjacent to the kid-friendly hotel.

The developer took down the video after GrowthSpotter reached out for comment. Everest CEO Zafir Rashid said the video “should not have been posted and could have misinformation.“


Rashid previously told GrowthSpotter the company had agreements in place with three hotel flags to build separate and unique resorts with a combined total of 1,800 standard hotel rooms and condo hotel units on the property — all slated to open in 2023.

Experience Kissimmee CEO DT Minich said Nickelodeon would be a great addition to the tourism corridor, as will the other brands. “We’re just thrilled that there’s going to be some fantastic new product out there that we can sell,” he said. “Everyone I’ve talked to about Everest Group says they’re going to do this right.”

According to the video, European boutique hotelier Kempinski would operate the a 5-star conference center hotel, which would be the company’s first U.S. location in its more than century-long history. Eva Marie Panzer, corporate spokeswoman for Kempinski, said the company does not have a signed contract for the Orlando site.

Founded in 1897, Kempinski currently operates luxury 76 hotels in 30 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. It’s opening a new hotel in Tel Aviv, Israel this year.

“From historic buildings to the most avant-garde of modern architecture, our properties are the setting for some of life’s greatest moments,” the company website reads. “We’ve witnessed historic meetings between world leaders, celebrities taking sanctuary in the world of privacy we create for them, and created incredible memories for guests on a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ journey.”

If the deal gets completed, it would be the second new 5-star brand to enter the Orlando market this year, following the announcement that Hilton will build a 433-room Conrad Orlando Hotel as part of Dart Interests’ Evermore Orlando Resort on the former Grand Cypress property.

“Kempinski is a terrific brand,” HREC Vice President Paul Sexton said. “It is surprising to me that given the number of international visitors that come to Orlando, we don’t have more international brand presence in Orlando.”

The Everest Place master plan calls for a luxury full-service conference hotel with 500 rooms, 23 villas, restaurants and bars, and a ballroom that could accommodate 2,000 guests. “It’s an ultra luxury brand,” Rashid said in late December. “That’s all I can tell you, because we have an NDA, but it’s a well-established, 5-star luxury brand.”


The development would be phased, with the first phase consisting of 200 hotel rooms and 200 condo-hotel units, intended for longer stays. The condo units would share the same hotel branding, but will be outfitted with full kitchens, multiple bedrooms.

Canadian developer Everest Group released this early conceptual rendering of the Grand Medina Resort in 2019. The architectural style aligns with Shaza Hotels branding.

In the same interview, Rashid said a Middle East-based hotel brand would make its U.S. market entry as the operator for the nation’s first conservative lifestyle resort, which caters to observant Muslims and welcomes people of all faiths. Key features will include private women’s only areas, halal, vegan and kosher restaurant options. The Grand Medina will be the only resort on the community that’s an alcohol-free zone.

“We’ve actually partnered up with a brand out of the Middle East and Dubai. So it’s going to be co-branded as Grand Medina and this particular brand. That one is very far along, and we’re excited about the partnership.”

The video revealed the brand partner to be Shaza Hotels, which currently operates hotels under the Shaza and Mysk flags in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Doha Kuwait and Oman. The company has won multiple World Travel Awards for its hotels and branded residences and notes on its website that it serves only halal food at its properties.

“Shaza is one of the leading luxury hotel brands in the Middle East, characterized by its dedication to offering true Arabian hospitality inspired by the traditions and culture of the legendary Silk Route and reflected by the supremely elegant Middle Eastern style décor and serene ambiance that is appreciated by the most discerning travelers,” the website reads.

Shaza opened three hotels in 2019 as part of an ambitious growth strategy to expand its portfolio to 20 hotels across both brands, while ensuring that 30% of its hotels are located outside the Middle East.


The resort at Everest Place would be developed in phases, beginning with 165 rooms and 100 condo units in phase 1. The Grand Medina Resort would include a women’s club with spa services, private pools, a gym, yoga studio and cafe.

Both Kempinski and Shaza are members of the Global Hotel Alliance, the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands, brings together 35 brands with 550 hotels in 76 countries.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated to include the response from Kempinski Hotels.

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