HVS EMEA Hospitality Enews - Week Ending 11 April 2008

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

Obonjan Island to Have Its Own "Riviera"

Orco Property Group (Orco), a Luxembourg-based developer, has signed an agreement with the City of Sibenik, Croatia, to create the 65,000 m² “Obonjan Riviera” mixed-use tourism project on the 54-hectare island of Obonjan in the Adriatic Sea, five miles from Sibenik on the Dalmatian coast. Through its subsidiary Sunčani Hvar Hotels, Orco is to invest €100 million into the project, which will include hotels and a marina, and it will manage the facilities under a 50-year concession deal with the City of Sibenik. Obonjan Island is the only uninhabited island in Croatia which is completely zoned for tourist developments. Construction is scheduled to start at the beginning of 2010 and phase one of Obonjan Rivieria is expected to open in 2012.

London is to Have Six New Premier Inn Properties

Whitbread has announced that it is to add six new Premier Inn properties to its slice of the London hotel market, with an investment of £100 million and an additional 1,200 rooms. The 107-room Quality Hotel Westminster, the 125-room Comfort Inn Kensington and the 163-room Purple Hotel City of London are to be acquired by Whitbread from The Real Hotel Company for £18.5 million (Whitbread has also been given the first right of refusal for any current or future hotels operated under the Purple brand). Three new-build Premier Inn hotels are to be located in Waterloo, Ealing and Old Street. This expansion will bring Whitbread’s total room stock in England’s capital to 6,500.

The Croatian City of Pula Rolls Out the Welcome Mat for Park Plaza

Through its wholly-owned subsidiary Euro Sea Hotels, Park Plaza Hotels (Park Plaza) has acquired a 20% stake in WM/DMREF Bora (Bora), with a reported transaction amount of €22.3 million, from a group of real estate investment funds managed by Goldman Sachs. Through its controlling interest in Croatian company Arenaturist, Bora has eight hotels in and near the city of Pula on the Istrian coast in Croatia. Some of these hotels will be branded as Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts. Park Plaza is also reported to be entering into an agreement to manage and operate Arenaturist’s property portfolio for an initial term of 20 years.

A Second Courtyard By Marriott for Rome

The 162-room Hotel Central Park Rome is to become Marriott International’s fourth hotel in Italy’s capital city and the second hotel in Rome to fly the Courtyard by Marriott flag. Through a franchise agreement with I.R.P.S the hotel is to be rebranded as the Courtyard by Marriott Rome Central Park. Marriott’s Roman portfolio currently comprises the 151-room Rome Marriott Grand Hotel Flora, the 601-room Rome Marriott Park Hotel and the 185-room Courtyard by Marriott Rome Airport.

A New Owner for the Carlton Court Hotel in Maida Vale

Lancaster-based Sunterra Europe Group Holdings, a subsidiary of American-based global hospitality brand Diamond Resorts International, has sold the 22-room Carlton Court Hotel in Maida Vale, London, to a private investor. The sum of the transaction is undisclosed but the asking price for the hotel was £8 million.

A Third Scandic Hotel for the Danish City of Aarhus

From June 2010 onwards, the city and port of Aarhus in East Jutland, Denmark, will be able to offer its visitors a choice of three Scandic hotels. Scandic has partnered up with NorCap and Essex and signed an agreement to develop the 226-room Scandic Aarhus City. Construction will start at the beginning of 2009. Scandic’s portfolio in Denmark comprises 22 hotels including the 162-room Scandic Plaza Aarhus and the 151-room Scandic Aarhus.

InterContinental Hotels Group Relaunches Its Holiday Inn Brand

The Holiday Inn London Heathrow and the Holiday Inn Farnborough in the UK are the first hotels to open in Europe as part of a US$1 billion relaunch of InterContinental Hotels Group’s Holiday Inn brand. In the Europe, Middle East and Africa region (EMEA) 11 hotels have been chosen to showcase the changes, which include a new signature scent and sound package, in order to provide feedback ahead of the global relaunch of the brand, which is scheduled to be complete by 2010.

A First Crowne Plaza for Belgrade

InterContinental Hotels Group has also been to Serbia this week to announce the development of the first Crowne Plaza hotel in Belgrade. IHG has signed an agreement with Serbian-based Delta Real Estate to manage the former state-owned Hotel Continental as the 415-room Crowne Plaza Belgrade. The hotel will benefit from a refurbishment of more than €30 million before it reopens in 2010.

Rezidor to Give Manchester a Park Inn

Rezidor Hotel Group travelled to Manchester in the UK to announce a Park Inn hotel. The 226-room, 11-storey Park Inn Manchester Old Trafford is to be developed in cooperation with Vineyard Hotels. The hotel will be located near the city centre and is to open in the second quarter of 2010. Rezidor’s portfolio in the UK and Ireland now stands at 64 hotels.

Abu Dhabi to Welcome the Eva Hotel

South African hotel group Southern Sun and the Dubai-based United Holdings have teamed up to develop the Eva Hotel Abu Dhabi on Mina Street in Abu Dhabi. The total cost of developing the 417-room, four-star hotel is reported to be Dh500 million (approximately US$27.2 million). Southern Sun will operate the hotel, which will be their second project in Abu Dhabi after the Sun Square Desert Towers at Bin Zayed city.

Azimut Hotels to Venture into Europe

Central European Hotel Investment Company (CEHI), owned by private Russian investor Alexander Klyachin, has acquired for an undisclosed sum Austrian Hotel Company’s (AHC) portfolio of 20 three-star and four-star hotels located in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic. Hamilton Hotel Partners is to operate the 1,875-room portfolio under a management agreement with CEHI. The hotels will feature the Azimut brand, as the Russian hotel company Azimut Hotels is also owned by Alexander Klyachin. Azimut currently has eight hotels across Russia. Over the next couple of years another eight Azimut hotels are expected to open in Europe bringing the total number of rooms in the portfolio under Hamilton's management to more than 3,000.

A New CEO for Millennium & Copthorne

A 40-year veteran of the hotel industry, Richard Hartman has been enticed out of retirement by Millennium & Copthorne Hotels to take up the position of chief executive officer for the company. Wong Hong Ren had held the post in the interim. Previously, Mr Hartman worked at a senior level for InterContinental Hotels Group.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 3-10 April 2008

Accor - The company saw its shares rise after it announced it was to extend its hotel network in Brazil.

Millennium & Copthorne - Shares rose this week as the company announced its intention to inject €100 million into a joint venture to develop hotels in India.

Whitbread - Shares fell amid rumours of a recession.

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Louise Fury, EMEA Hospitality Enews Authorlfury@hvs.com