HVS EMEA Hospitality Enews - Week Ending 8 February 2008

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

IHI Wears The Crown

International Hotel Investments (IHI), one of whose principal shareholders is Dubai-based Istithmar Hotels, has paid The Crown Estate £130 million for the Metropole Building (once home to the fashionable Metropole Hotel) and 10 Whitehall Place in the West End of London. IHI will transform the properties into a 283-room, five-star hotel and luxury residential apartments. The Crown Estate announced last June that it was putting the properties up for sale.

Investors Shop At Habitat

La Caixa, the Spanish savings bank, has financed the acquisition of Bauzá Hotel & Restaurant by a group of investors calling themselves Rosales 2007. The amount paid to Habitat Hotels for the 188-room, four-star hotel was officially undisclosed, although several reports in the Spanish press give a figure of at least €60 million. The hotel in the Salamanca district of the Spanish capital Madrid joined the portfolio of Vincci Hoteles on 1 February and is known now as Vincci Hotel Bauzá.

Find Rezidor In Belarus, Libya and Germany

What links Belarus, Libya and Germany? The answer is Rezidor Hotel Group; the company is opening a hotel in each of these countries. Rezidor will tackle the capitals of Belarus and Libya, opening the 241-room Radisson Olympic Hotel, Minsk in the second quarter of 2010 and renovating an existing hotel in Tripoli to produce the 333-room Radisson Tripoli before September 2008. In Germany, a Quality Inn hotel will become the 194-room Park Inn Weimar by the end of March 2008.

Rocco Forte Heads For Abu Dhabi

Where the Forte company once trod, now steps The Rocco Forte Collection: on the road to the Middle East. The former Forte company once managed ten hotels in the region; The Rocco Forte Collection will begin with one. Al Farida Investments Company has attracted Rocco Forte to The Bridgeway development in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The mixed-use development includes a 282-room hotel and 154 serviced apartments.

Aitken Spence Manages In Oman

Aitken Spence Hotels, which has hotels in its home in Sri Lanka, and others in nearby India and Maldives, has been given the opportunity to manage its first hotels in the Middle East. The company has signed a seven-year agreement with Oman Hotels & Tourism Company (OHTC) that will see Aitken Spence succeed OHTC as the manager of four hotels in the sultanate of Oman: the 143-room Al Falaj and the 105-room Ruwi (both in the Omani capital Muscat), the 54-room Al Wadi, in the town of Sohar, and the 108-room Sur Plaza in the town of Sur, southeast of Sohar along the country’s northern coast.

A First Fairmont For Egypt

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has opened its first hotel in Egypt; although it will not be long before the 247-room Fairmont Towers, Heliopolis is joined on the streets of the capital Cairo by another two properties. The adjacent Fairmont Heliopolis, offering additional food outlets, function space and other amenities, will open after a programme of renovation that begins in the first quarter of this year. And later in 2008 we should expect the arrival of the Fairmont Nile City, Cairo.

Hotel Europejski In Warsaw To Be Renovated

The Hotel Europejski in the Polish capital Warsaw has the opportunity to recapture past glories under plans drawn up by its owners. They are to form an entity called Europejski Palace that will take an 80% share in a programme of extensive renovation said to cost anything from €50 million to €60 million. The other 20% is to be taken up by Yareal Polska, the Polish subsidiary of real estate investment firm Yam Invest. The restored nineteenth-century hotel is expected to reopen in 2011.

Look Smart! There's The Clarion Call

CPI Hotels, the hotel arm of Czech Property Investments Group, is to invest a reported Kc60 million (€2.3 million) in the renovation and expansion of Grandhotel Zlatý Lev in the city of Liberec, in the north of the Czech Republic. In addition to restoring original art nouveau features, CPI Hotels will add 35 guest rooms to the 79 currently available at the four-star hotel by opening up an adjoining building. The work should be finished next year. The hotel is plumping itself up and beautifying itself for one admirer in particular: Choice Hotels International, which is to prefix the hotel’s name with the Clarion brand.

Kempinski Residences Opens In Istanbul

The Turkish firm Astas Group began work in January 2005 on the development of the Kempinski Residences Astoria Istanbul. The firm laid down its spade for the final time at the end of last year and with the sweat of its toil now dry on its brow has since the end of January been enjoying watching people arrive at the fruits of its labour. The property in Esentepe, the business district of the Turkish city of Istanbul, is a collection of fully serviced luxurious residences, some for sale as well as rent, and offices that has access to the Astoria Shopping Center.

Pullman Arrives At Sofitel Paris Bercy

The 400-room Sofitel Paris Bercy, to the east of the French capital, is the latest hotel to have swapped its Sofitel colours for the livery of the Pullman brand. Accor now has 14 Pullman hotels worldwide having opened an initial 12, including hotels in France, Germany and Belgium, in December. Accor wants to have 59 Pullman hotels (15,600 rooms) in 23 countries by 2009 and an eventual total of 300 worldwide by 2015.

FM: No Static At All

Ury House had not known love ever since it was abandoned in the 1950s. So the B-listed mansion jumped no doubt willingly into the arms of FM Developments when those arms stretched out in loving embrace from Edinburgh last June. The company has submitted revised plans that will turn Ury House into a hotel that, along with a newly built annexe, will be able to accommodate 100 guests. The 1,500-acre Ury Estate near Stonehaven, on the northeast coast of Scotland, will also find room for a spa and fitness facilities, 230 houses and an 18-hole golf course that is being created by Nicklaus Design.

Purplehotel Arrives In Scotland

A Scotch and Ribena. Raise a glass of it (you don’t necessarily have to swallow the contents) to toast the arrival in Scotland of a first hotel with the “no frills chic” purplehotel brand. The 103-room purplehotel Glasgow/Airport is the eleventh purplehotel to have been opened in the UK since The Real Hotel Company announced the debut of the brand last November with the opening of the 76-room purplehotel Braintree/Stansted in the county of Essex, in southeast England. Those 11 hotels (nine of them rebranded Sleep Inn hotels) share a total of almost 1,000 rooms, a total that The Real Hotel Company wants to have quadrupled by 2012.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 31 January-7 February 2008

Millennium & Copthorne - The share price rose strongly at the end of last week as Landsbanki reiterated a 'Buy' rating.

InterContinental Hotels Group - Lehman placed an 'Overweight' rating and cut its target price from 1,350p to 900p.

Whitbread - Lehman placed an 'Equal-weight' rating and cut its target price from 1,900p to 1,280p.

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Charles Human, Managing Director – HVS HWE chuman@hvshwe.com
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Marc Finney, Director mfinney@hvs.com
Hadrien Pujol, Director hpujol@hvs.com
Demetris Spanos, Managing Director – HVS Athens dspanos@hvs.com
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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