HVS EMEA Hospitality Enews - Week Ending 13 June 2008

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

Sol Meliá Owns 40 Per Cent Of The Sky

Sol Meliá has teamed up with its fellow Spaniards Caja Mediterráneo-CAM, Invernostra and Caja Duero to acquire the five-star Hotel Sky, in Barcelona. The deal was valued at €103 million, and Sol Meliá’s stake in the hotel is reported to be the largest, at 40%. The 259-room hotel will open in the third quarter of 2008, under Sol Meliá’s management, as the ME Barcelona. Sol Meliá launched the ME by Meliá brand in 2006 and the only other example of a hotel with the brand in Spain at present is the ME Madrid.

Hélion Acquires Two Parisian Boutique Hotels

Hélion, an investment company newly formed by the Belgian investor and fund manager Algonquin Group, has paid an undisclosed sum for two four-star boutique hotels in the centre of Paris. The 36-room Le Marquis and the 25-room Le Walt, which are both in the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower, were sold by Hall Phoenix Inwood, a subsidiary of the US real estate firm Hall Financial Group.

La Samaritaine Might Come Good Again

La Samaritaine is a department store in the centre of Paris. It looks down on the Seine, though blindly for the store has been closed for three years. The French press reports that the Art Nouveau building, which was established in 1870 and which is now in the hands of LVMH Group (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy), might be converted by 2013 into a complex comprising a luxury hotel, houses, offices and retail outlets. Any plans would have to be approved by the city authorities.

Hilton's Appetite For Turkey Undiminished

If Hilton Hotels Corporation (HHC) were a fruit it would be a cranberry, such is its affinity with Turkey. Last autumn, HHC signed an agreement with Turkish real estate investor and developer Amplio to bring 15 hotels (2,500 rooms), a mix of Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton by Hilton brands, to the country over five years. Now, it has signed a similar agreement with Kosifler Group, a Turkish conglomerate, that will introduce around 25 hotels (3,500 rooms) over five years. Most of this latest batch of hotels will have the Hilton Garden Inn brand; the first, a hotel of 121 rooms, will open in the central city of Kütahya in the second quarter of 2010. HHC plans to manage all of the hotels.

The UK Is On Hilton's Menu Too

It is not only in Turkey that Hilton Hotels Corporation (HHC) is planning to extend its reach. The UK too is to be the recipient of a large batch of hotels, after HHC signed a development alliance with HLH Property. Thirty new hotels (some 4,000 rooms) are destined to arrive over the next five years. Most of the hotels will have the Hampton by Hilton budget brand. Like Turkey, the UK has experience of seeing HHC come roaring in. Last summer HHC announced that it was working separately with Shiva Hotels to bring at least 15 hotels to the UK and with Somerston Hotels (at least 25 hotels – all 25 with the Hampton by Hilton brand).

Moscow Draws Raffles

Raffles Hotels & Resorts has for some time been looking to extend its presence in Europe beyond its foothold in Paris. Its exploring hand has found welcome in Moscow and a building in the Russian capital that was raised in the seventeenth century. What became known as Chizhevskoe Podvorie is a building that is now owned jointly by the city’s government and ALT Corporation, and it is the latter’s fingers that have entwined with Raffles’. The 130-room Raffles Moscow will open in the central Kitay-gorod district of the city in 2011.

Bouygues To Build Hotel In Turkmenistan

Bouygues Bâtiment International is due to begin work shortly on the construction of a five-star hotel complex in Ashgabat, the capital of the republic of Turkmenistan. The construction contract is worth €270 million. The hotel will have serviced apartments, more than 300 rooms and a surface area of 95,000 m². The hotel is to open in December 2009.

Staybridge Crossing To Kuwait: Twice

The Staybridge Suites brand will make its bow in Kuwait with not one extended stay hotel, but two. Both hotels will be built in the capital: one in the Salmiya district and the other near Farwaniya airport as an extension to the existing 329-room Crowne Plaza Hotel Kuwait City. The 120-suite Staybridge Suites Salmiya will be the first to open, in November 2009. The 150-suite Staybridge Suites Farwaniya will arrive in January 2010. InterContinental Hotels Group signed an agreement covering both hotels with its long-standing partner Bukhamseen Group Holding Company.

Tiger Woods Drives Saab

Elie Saab, the Lebanese designer, is known throughout the world for his fashionable tailoring. Now, he is to lend his name to a series of luxury boutique hotels to be built in the Middle East. The first, costing a reported Dh600 million (US$163 million), will be built at The Tiger Woods Dubai, Tatweer’s mixed-use development at Dubailand, in the emirate of Dubai. The hotel, which is to have 89 suites and 14 bungalows of various sizes, will overlook Al Ruwaya, an 18-hole golf course that is the first to be designed by Tiger Woods. The development should be ready in September 2009.

Papenburg Picks Up A Park Inn

The display on the device that counts how many Park Inn hotels there are (either operational or under construction) in Germany has clicked round to show “45”. The mechanism was set in motion by the announcement of the forthcoming arrival of the Park Inn Papenburg. Rezidor Hotel Group is working on the project with its franchise partner Proventhotels. The townsfolk of Papenburg, a town which lies close to the Dutch border, will forgive being passed over by Rezidor on 44 previous occasions, as the 101-room hotel, which is set to be finished by this autumn, will be the first in the town to have an international brand.

Easy For Larnaca And Liverpool

Seawater is no impediment to the orange: the orange livery, that is, of easyHotel. The colour that has brightened up the UK, Switzerland and Hungary, and which will soon be decorating the likes of Germany, Austria and Portugal, has crossed the Mediterranean and landed on Cyprus. The budget hotel that is to take the easyHotel franchise is due to open this autumn in the city of Larnaca. Meanwhile, in the northwest of England, only refusal of planning permission can impede plans drawn up by easyHotel and Eclipse Hotels Group to convert Mason’s Building in the centre of Liverpool into a 70-room hotel.

Kiessling's Corner

What are Spanish eyes focusing on this week? Well, here to tell us is Gabriele Kiessling, HVS’s analyst in Madrid. The group Anta Empresa is building two hotels in the city of Oviedo and both will take a franchise from Accor. The 94-room Ibis hotel and the 90-room Etap hotel will occupy the same plot but will be managed separately. Elsewhere, Grupo Dauro is to open a third hotel in the city of Granada this autumn. A nineteenth-century building is being converted into a 21-unit, four-star aparthotel.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 5-12 June 2008

NH Hoteles - Merrill Lynch added the company to its list of "least preferred" travel and leisure stocks.

Accor - The share price swam against the tide of general decline on the French market thanks to an upgrade by Lehman Brothers from 'Equal-weight' to 'Overweight'. Lehman also raised its target price from €58 to €60.

Whitbread - The share price rallied slightly late on after reports that Citigroup had suggested that it would be a "good idea" if Whitbread were to choose to swap its pubs for the hotels business owned by Mitchells and Butlers.

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
Hadrien Pujol, Director hpujol@hvs.com
Demetris Spanos, Managing Director – HVS Athens dspanos@hvs.com
Hala Matar Choufany, Director – HVS Dubai hchoufany@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