HVS EMEA Hospitality Enews - Week Ending 26 October 2007

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

Hilton Takeover Complete

Anticipation was over on the 112th day: an affiliate of The Blackstone Group’s real estate and private equity funds has completed its takeover of Hilton Hotels Corporation. Hilton primed us on 3 July to expect the deal to close in the fourth quarter of 2007, and 24 October is the day that enters the history books as ‘completion Wednesday’: the day on which Blackstone paid the previously agreed price of US$47.5 a share. That price values Hilton, which has almost 490,000 rooms in close to 2,900 hotels worldwide, at around US$26 billion. The company’s shares were delisted from the New York Stock Exchange upon completion of the deal.

Worldwide Holiday Inn Revamp

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has lined its Holiday Inn brand family up against the wall (perhaps the Great Wall of China, as 3,125 hotels make for a long line): not to have them shot – for this is a bloodless revolution – but to demand that each hands in the famous flag that has flapped at masts around the world for more than 50 years and takes in return one with a new design. Running the new flag up its pole is the signal that that hotel has been through the relaunch programme; expect to witness this event for the first time in the USA next year. All hotels are commanded to have followed the example of their pioneering sister before the close of 2010. IHG will grease the poles with a maximum investment of £30 million. Owners and franchisees of the hotels will between them contribute a total of £490 million to the cause over the next three years.

Accor Adopts The Right Approach

Accor wants to have 5,000 hotels by 2010 (it has almost 4,000 at present). Ah, now that’s what I call the right approach, you might say; and if you did that would be a coincidence, as the ‘Right Approach’ is indeed what the company is calling its strategy to make its hotel business more profitable, less cyclical and better appreciated. The strategy calls for, among other things, the repositioning of the Sofitel brand; the introduction of the Adagio brand to take a greater market share in the midscale sector in Europe; and building more Etap hotels to do likewise in the economy sector in Europe.

A Siberian Adventure For Swissôtel

From the windows of the Swissôtel Krasnye Holmy in Moscow, we must look far, far away to the west for a sighting of the second Swissôtel property in Russia. And then slip into our long johns if we want a closer view, as the 200-room addition to the chain Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts is out in Siberia, in the city of Novosibirsk. The five-star hotel on which the company has signed a management agreement with Russian firm Sibacademinvest is set to open in 2009.

See Those Marriott Brands Fly

A second Renaissance hotel in Amsterdam will bring to four the total number of hotels that Marriott International has in the Dutch city. The 318-room newcomer will land near Schiphol airport in 2009, guided in by a franchise agreement signed by Marriott and native firm Realotel & Partner Hotel Schiphol Management Hoofddorp. The Courtyard by Marriott brand, which knows its way to Schiphol already, has programmed coordinates for Toulouse-Blagnac airport, which serves the city of Toulouse in southern France. If you are flying from there from 2009 onwards be sure to give a wave of welcome to the 187-room hotel standing opposite Aeronautic Park (a home to Airbus Industries).

Almulla To Launch Sharia-Compliant Chain

Dubai-based Almulla Hospitality wants to have 30 sharia-compliant hotels open by the end of next year and a total of 150 such hotels by 2013. Prospective guests have three brands to choose from: Cliftonwood (for ‘elegant living’), Adham (for ‘exclusive living’) and Wing (for ‘smart living’) in an initial set of countries that includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan. Once these nations have been satisfied, Almulla will set its sights on Europe, which is to receive 15 hotels in the luxury category and 25 in the business category.

Four Points Points To Mauritius

Raise a pint to the first Four Points by Sheraton hotel on the island of Mauritius: the brand’s chief beer officer Scott Kerkmans would expect it of you. And when your head has stopped spinning like the Four Points windmill (or pinwheel, if you prefer) you can study the details of the property: 108 rooms (rising to 208 within three years of the opening date of mid 2008) and a location at the business park Ebène CyberCity, which is on the outskirts of the island’s capital Port Louis. Giggling at the ceremony for the signing of the management agreement were Starwood Hotels and the hotel’s owner Ebène CyberCity Hotel.

Orange Attracts Orange In Austria

Easyhotel was always going to fall for a company with the name P_Orange. The ‘super budget’ hotel chain’s master franchise for Austria and certain other countries in central Europe is in the hands of a firm newly formed by hotelier Michaela Reitterer and entrepreneur Ewald Weizenbauer. P_Orange will open at least three hotels in Austria over the next four years and another six in countries covered by the agreement.

Mighty Zeus Looks Upon The UK Three-Star Market

Zeus Private Equity has paid an undisclosed sum to make The Belfry House Hotel the first entry in the ledger of its newly formed hotel company. The 81-room property near Manchester airport promises to be the first of ten three-star hotels in the UK provinces that Zeus wants to buy with the reported £65 million that the venture capital fund has at its disposal. All properties purchased will be renovated and raised to four-star status. The hotel company is headed by Arnold Schnegg, who was formerly with QHotels.

Siblings Sold In Gloucestershire Market Town

Diamond Lodge Properties, a company registered in the British Virgin Islands, is reported to have paid an undisclosed sum to secure sister hotels in the town of Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire, southwest England. It was reported in March that Ian and Christina Taylor had put the 29-room Cotswolds House Hotel and the 26-room Noel Arms Hotel on the market for a combined asking price of £14.85 million.

New Adventures Of Robin Hood

Property company Peel Holdings has announced that work has begun on a 103-room Ramada Encore hotel at Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield. The £7 million development should be ready by late summer 2008. Robin Hood would no doubt have doffed his cap to London Town Hotels (LTH) for its spearing a Comfort hotel in Nottingham with an arrow of acquisition shot from London. The company made the 70-room property its first hotel in the UK provinces by paying just under a reported £3 million.

Timeshare Fit For A King

King Zog I of Albania may have survived numerous attempts on his life before illness took him in 1961 but his former summer residence in Durrës, on the coast of his realm, was finished off in one single attack by looters in 1997. The king is dead, but at least his palace can be brought back to life. The Financial Times reports that Albanian developer Alban Xhilleri will restore the Art Deco property and convert it into a spa, which will be the centrepiece of a luxury resort. The renovated palace will be surrounded by 50 timeshare apartments in work that will cost a reported US$29 million.

Blessed Are HVS, For They Have Inherited The Whole 2nd Floor

And it came to pass that the HVS family in London had outgrown its smart town house in Hallam Street by 2005. So we crossed Portland Place and set up a new home in Chandos Street. Now there was more room Russell said, “Let there be growth”, and there was. A swarm of eager new talent descended upon us, resulting in much continued success for the London office and, in recent months, much overcrowding. Had the whole office decided as one to cross the road again in search of new premises, the traffic would have been backed up to Oxford Street. So instead of roaming, HVS looked within and cast a covetous eye on the vacant space that was the remainder of the second floor at Chandos Street. It is into this space that we now flow. Having doubled our space, HVS London can continue to attract and accommodate more of the first-rate staff we seek, while existing personnel can breathe out for the first time in ages without fear of making the pot plants tremble. Everything in the new office is fresh and new except for, you will be relieved to read, the telephone and fax numbers and the address. We look forward to welcoming you to our new offices and hope we will be fully functioning by Monday morning, 29 October.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 18-25 October 2007

InterContinental Hotels Group - ABN Amro gave a 'Buy' rating and raised its target price from 1,390p to 1,510p.

Accor - The share price recovered from an earlier general fall across the French market on the company's news of its strategy.

Whitbread - Lehman Brothers initiated coverage with an 'Equal-weight' 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 Director, HVS HWEchuman@hvshwe.com
Dominique Bourdais, Directordbourdais@hvs.com
Bernard Forster, Directorbforster@hvs.com
Karen Smith, Directorksmith@hvs.com
Marc Finney, Directormfinney@hvs.com
Demetris Spanos, Managing Director, HVS Athensdspanos@hvs.com
Christopher Mumford, Managing Director, Executive Searchcmumford@hvs.com
Philip Bacon, Managing Director, EMEA & Asia, HVS Shared Ownership Servicespbacon@hvs.com
Adrian Jones, EMEA Hospitality Enews Authorajones@hvs.com