HVS EMEA Hospitality Enews - Week Ending 14 December 2007

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

The Waldorf Hilton Finds A Buyer

“A high net worth UK investor” is reported to have acquired The Waldorf Hilton in London from Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) for an undisclosed sum. The Times last month named Mrs Gulshan Bhatia, owner of the Hilton London Paddington and the Hyatt Regency Birmingham, as the frontrunner in the race to acquire the 299-room hotel. The Times quoted a purchase price of £185 million. The Waldorf Hilton was one of four hotels in the UK that RBS put up for sale in October. It is thought that the Cumberland Hotel (also in London), the Manchester Marriott Victoria and Albert Hotel and the Park Inn Heathrow are also close to finding buyers.

Leonardo Adds Colour To Hamburg

Fattal Hotels is wearing an enigmatic smile. And why not. After all, Fattal has just added the Leonardo Hotel Hamburg Stillhorn to its collection of hotels in Germany that it operates under the Leonardo Hotels brand. Fattal paid an undisclosed sum to Starman UK Services Company, the joint venture formed by Starwood Capital and Lehman Brothers Holdings, for the former Le Meridien Hamburg-Stillhorn. The four-star hotel on the outskirts of the city of Hamburg, in northern Germany, has 150 rooms.

Mystery Shopper Orbits Orbis Grand

An anonymous buyer has agreed in principle to pay Orbis Hotel Group approximately Zl73.5 million (approximately €20.6 million) for the Orbis Grand. Orbis Hotel Group expects that the buyer will have completed the acquisition of this 161-room hotel, which stands in the city of Łódź, in central Poland, before the end of the year.

Derby Finds Some Away Form

Reports from Spain indicate that Derby Hotels has found that first hotel in Paris that it has long been seeking. Derby Hotels and its partner and compatriot Metrópolis Inmobiliarias are said to have acquired a 103-room hotel on Rue Lafayette. The total cost of the acquisition and refurbishment will come to a reported €75 million. Derby Hotels will open a five-star hotel of 94 rooms in summer 2008.

St. Regis Comes To Cairo

You might expect a plot of land blessed with the name Thomas Cook to have had a few travellers trample across it over the years. Mostly those travellers will have come to view the land at the northern end of the Corniche Road in Cairo and debate its future. One traveller that has put its foot down to end the debate is Qatari Diar, the real estate investment company. It has decreed that a luxurious mixed-use development will occupy the land. And on that development will rise the first hotel in Africa to bear the St. Regis name. The 299-room St. Regis, Cairo, which is due to open in 2011, will be accompanied by 103 serviced apartments and 111 St. Regis apartments that will be for sale.

Abu Dhabi Decides To Twist

The twist craze has reached the Middle East. Surely some 40 years too late, you might be thinking. But this is not the dance; this is the craze for the “new twist in travel”: Starwood’s aloft brand. There will be nothing though to stop an excited Starwood taking its partner Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company for a twirl across the mixed-use development Capital Centre, where the aloft Abu Dhabi will open in late 2009. Expect the builders to come waltzing in next year ready to build the 408-room hotel.

W Brand Heads For Jordan

Starwood doing the sand dance in Cairo and twisting the night away in Abu Dhabi. Maybe you’re a lover but you ain’t no dancer; in which case, you might say take me to Amman. Yet even in the capital of Jordan there is no escape from Starwood. And, as W Hotels supplied the genes for the aloft brand, in all probability no escape from the dancing either. Strictly speaking, there should be no dancing in the streets of Amman until 2011, when the 280-room W Amman makes its debut. Starwood’s partner in this venture is Saraya, a developer of real estate and an asset manager. The hotel is to be part of Saraya’s new headquarters in Amman.

Park Plaza Hotels For Doha And Marrakech

Park Plaza Hotels and Global V Hospitality have signed franchise agreements on a hotel in Doha, the capital of Qatar, and a hotel in the Moroccan city of Marrakech. Earlier this year Park Plaza granted Global V the exclusive right to use the Park Plaza brand in the Gulf states, Morocco and Egypt and thereby broaden the hotelier’s portfolio. Consequently, the 167-room Park Plaza Doha will be opening on New Year’s Day 2008 and the 114-room Park Plaza Marrakech in mid 2009. The hotels will be operated by subsidiaries of Global V Hospitality.

Scandic Calls At Another Port In Norway

Ah Christmas, port and Stilton. Norway offers a variation on this seasonal pairing: port and Scandic. Of late in Norway you can’t have one without the other. Scandic, a big cheese in Scandinavia, has followed up its recent announcement of a 200-room hotel in the port of Stavanger with news that it is to open a 220-room hotel in the port of Bodø. (Port aficionados will be pleased to note that Bodø is to the left of Stavanger on Norway’s western coast.) Construction work is set to begin early next autumn and the hotel should be finished in 2010.

Accor Opens 12 Pullman Hotels

Accor wants to have 300 Pullman hotels around the world by 2015. So it always helpful to have 12 hotels opening on one day. Accor announced in August that a selection of 45 existing Sofitel and Grand Mercure hotels would be rebranded to lead the drive. So you might recognise some old favourites among the hotels to have opened in Paris (the likes of the Pullman Paris Rive Gauche and Pullman Paris La Défense), Marseilles and Toulouse. The Pullman Cologne and Pullman Dortmund have opened in Germany and the Pullman Brussels Airport has opened in Belgium.

Whitbread Issues A Trading Update

Strange that we should toast a chain of coffee shops with vodka. But what better way to celebrate Costa’s total sales growth of 23.6% and its entry into Russia? That sales figure topped the charts in Whitbread’s trading statement covering the 39 weeks to 29 November 2007. In second place, with total sales growth of 15.0% was the Premier Inn chain. We might toast that result, and the opening in Bournemouth in November of the 500th Premier Inn in the UK, with a nice cup of tea.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 6-13 December 2007

Sol Meliá - UBS retained a 'Neutral' rating and cut its target price from €15.10 to €12.20.

Whitbread - Deutsche Bank noted that Whitbread's figures were back to "normal levels".

Accor - The share price fell amid general concerns of a US economic slowdown.

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 Director rkett@hvs.com
Charles Human, Managing Director – HVS HWE chuman@hvshwe.com
Dominique Bourdais, Director dbourdais@hvs.com
Bernard Forster, Director bforster@hvs.com
Karen Smith, Director ksmith@hvs.com
Marc Finney, Director mfinney@hvs.com
Demetris Spanos, Managing Director – HVS Athens dspanos@hvs.com
Christopher Mumford, Managing Director – Executive Search cmumford@hvs.com
Philip Bacon, Managing Director – HVS Madrid and Managing Director, EMEA & Asia – HVS Shared Ownership Services pbacon@hvs.com
Adrian Jones, EMEA Hospitality Enews Author ajones@hvs.com