HVS EMEA Hospitality Enews - Week Ending 21 September 2007

The latest hospitality news from Europe, the Middle East and Africa

New Support For Four Pillars

RREEF, the real estate arm of Deutsche Bank, is reported to have acquired Four Pillars Hotels for an undisclosed sum. One report puts a figure of £121 million on the deal. Four Pillars’ chief executive Charles Holmes and the company’s founder Brian Murtagh will both retain an interest in the business, forming a joint venture with RREEF to expand the company. RREEF’s first move into the regional UK hotel sector nets it six properties in England in the counties of Oxfordshire and neighbouring Gloucestershire. The hotels occupy either the three-star or the four-star category and have a total of 732 rooms.

Nordic Partners Acquires Remmen Hotels

Henning Remmen and his wife Else Marie have decided to sell their company Remmen Hotels Holding to Nordic Partners for an undisclosed sum. All four of Remmen’s properties are in the Danish capital Copenhagen: the 123-room, five-star Hotel D’Angleterre, the 110-room, four-star Hotel Kong Frederik, the boutique hotel Front (the former Sophie Amalie Hotel) and the restaurant Copenhagen Corner. Nordic Partners, an investment company held by three Icelanders – Bjarni Gunnarsson, Gísli Reynisson and Jón Thór Hjaltason – and the Latvian Daumants Vitols will work with Tony Bak, the chief executive of Remmen, to help grow its new acquisition.

Italy's Turn For A Slice Of Mandarin

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group (MOHG) is busy fanning out across Europe, with Italy the latest country to succumb to the company’s Far Eastern promise. Italian real estate investor Gruppo Statuto is the owner and developer of the Mandarin Oriental, Milan, which will be opening its 104 rooms in the northern city of Milan in 2010. Within the last 18 months MOHG has called on the Czech Republic, to open a hotel in Prague; on Spain, to promise the city of Barcelona a property in 2009; and on France, where the Mandarin Oriental, Paris is set to open in 2010.

Hilton Garden Inn Enters Poland

Hilton Garden Inn’s European tour has already embraced Germany, Italy and the UK; now the brand is preparing for a trip to Poland. Hilton Hotels Corporation has signed a franchise agreement with Polish firm FHU Bogi on the Hilton Garden Inn Rzeszów, which is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2008 in the southeastern city of Rzeszów. The 102-room hotel will be part of the Millennium Hall mixed-use development, in which FHU Bogi is an investor.

Another Performance Of The "Twin Act": This Time In Munich

On taking the lease to the Tulip Inn München-Schwabing at the start of this month, Golden Tulip Hospitality no doubt felt the time was right for the citizens of Munich to witness a performance of its “twin act” operation, which has so enthralled the Dutch in Amsterdam, Leiden and Zoetermeer. Consequently, a Golden Tulip hotel of 160 rooms is being built next to the 231-room Tulip Inn. The Golden Tulip München-Schwabing should be ready to open in early 2009.

From Evry To Ev'rywhere: The Plan For All Seasons

The All Seasons Evry Cathédrale has the honour of being the first hotel in Europe with the All Seasons brand. Accor revealed in March that the three-star brand would be transported from its native lands in the Asia-Pacific region to light up a new territory. The 114 rooms of the property in the town of Évry, on the southern outskirts of Paris, are the first of 10,000 that Accor plans to have open across Europe by 2010. The company will concentrate on its French homeland initially, where it expects to have 40 All Seasons hotels open by mid 2008.

Rezidor Bobs Up In Mali

The Radisson brand is gradually getting to know West Africa under the guidance of Rezidor Hotel Group. A hotel being built in Lagos, in Nigeria, and another under construction in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, are now joined by the Radisson Hotel Mali. Its 73 suites are scheduled to make their debut at a riverside location in the Malian capital Bamako in late 2007 or early 2008. The brand might one day fancy a trip across to eastern Africa and the island of Zanzibar. If it does, then it will find Istithmar there, the company having announced plans to invest US$150 million in developing a 76-hectare luxury resort on Muyuni Beach. A 150-room hotel and a 50-room residence and spa will be features of the resort, which should be finished in 2009.

The Apeiron? Just Follow The Butterflies

Those who don’t own a yacht or a helicopter will find it almost impossible to reach the latest ‘seven-star’ hotel to be unveiled in the Middle East. There is the option of swimming the 400 metres from Dubai to reach the man-made island on which the US$500 million Apeiron hotel will stand. Come to think of it, this might be the best option: one of the restaurants will be beneath the waves, so swimmers will at least get first look at the menu in the window. Besides, helicopter blades create a nasty draught and that might upset the flight patterns of the butterflies that are destined to occupy the top two floors of the hotel. Humans will dwell in the 350 luxury suites below and will enjoy a range of facilities including a private lagoon, beaches and spas.

Laidlaw And Rokeby Team Up At Heathrow

Reports suggest that Scottish businessman Lord Laidlaw has formed a joint venture worth £70 million with English construction company Rokeby Developments so that the two can combine individual plots of land they hold close to the upcoming Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport. Rokeby already had plans for a 200-room hotel on its plot on Bath Road, and this property will be joined by a 400-room hotel on the combined three-acre site.

Beck Calls Five-Star Hotel To Sheffield

The city of Sheffield, in northern England, will receive its first five-star hotel if plans drawn up by Beck Conroy Consulting are approved. A 198-room Crowne Plaza would be one of two hotels – the other is a 161-room Express by Holiday Inn – that would be delivered to Victoria Quays in the city centre as part of a development costing a reported £38 million. The proposed properties, on which work would begin in spring 2008, would stand adjacent to the 107-room Holiday Inn Royal Victoria, which Beck Conroy owns and operates.

Louis Fitzgerald Wants To See His Name Across Dublin

The four-star Louis Fitzgerald Hotel, which is poised to open its 190 rooms in Dublin, could be the first in a chain of properties taking their name from their publican owner. Reports suggest that Mr Fitzgerald, who owns 24 pubs, wants to open five hotels in Dublin with the Louis Fitzgerald brand over the next five years. It is thought that the 115-room Arlington Hotel in Dublin, which Fitzgerald acquired in 2005 for a reported €30 million, will not be forming part of the chain.

Jomo Sono Invests In Sawubona Hotels

Ephraim Matsilele Sono, better known by his nickname Jomo, has hung up his football boots and gets his kicks now from his many business ventures. One of the newest of these is Sawubona Hotels, and the “black prince of South African soccer” is ready to invest a reported R600 million (US$84.5 million) in establishing the first six properties in the chain. The initial set of hotels, each with 240 rooms, are scheduled to be operational by 2009 in South African provinces including KwaZulu/Natal and Gauteng.

Orient-Express Doesn't Fancy An Indian

Made all the right overtures, spent a little cash (US$200 million, say) and yet the object of your desire still refuses to get into bed with you. Companies experience those same frustrations too. So the lovelorn will empathise with The Indian Hotels Company (IHC), which, through its subsidiary Samsara Properties, paid US$211.28 million for a stake of some 10% in Orient-Express Hotels in the hope of first talking and perhaps progressing from there into a relationship. Sadly for IHC, whatever dreams it may have had of fathering more Taj hotels were obliterated when its intended firmly rebuffed the proposal.

Lend Your Voice To The International Hotel Conference

The International Hotel Conference (www.internationalhotelconference.com click here): wine, women, but no song. Well, there might be song if delegates overindulge during the optional vineyard tour on the opening morning (17 October) of the three-day event. All being well, though, the last chorus of “Goodnight, Ladies” will have rung around the Rome Cavalieri Hilton ere the sun rises on day two, when Maria Pütz-Willems (editor-in-chief, Hospitalityinside.com) will be the first woman up on stage as moderator of a panel when her team looks into “Successful Spa Strategies”. A “few stout men and true” will be sprinkled among the congregation, none stouter than HVS’s two representatives Russell Kett, the managing director of the London office, and president Steve Rushmore.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 13-20 September 2007

InterContinental Hotels Group - The share price recovered early losses incurred at the end of last week as Morgan Stanley reiterated its 'Over-weight' rating but lowered its target price from 1,290p to 1,100p.

Accor - Deutsche Bank reiterated its 'Buy' rating and gave a target price of €82.

Whitbread - Losses made earlier in the week were recovered somewhat as Merrill Lynch reiterated its 'Buy' rating.

For the latest in the hospitality industry, please visit: http://www.hvs.com. You are also welcome to contact the following personnel.

Russell Kett, Managing Directorrkett@hvs.com
Charles Human, Managing Dir., HVS HWEchuman@hvshwe.com
Dominique Bourdais, Directordbourdais@hvs.com
Bernard Forster, Directorbforster@hvs.com
Karen Smith, Directorksmith@hvs.com
Marc Finney, Directormfinney@hvs.com
Christopher Mumford, Managing Dir., Executive Searchcmumford@hvs.com
Philip Bacon, Managing Dir. EMEA & Asia, HVS Shared Ownership Servicespbacon@hvs.com
Adrian Jones, EMEA Hospitality Enews Authorajones@hvs.com