HVS EMEA Hospitality Enews - Week Ending 15 August 2008

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

Quinlan Directs Half Of Jurys To Oman

Quinlan Private reached a verdict on its choice of partner a few months ago, apparently, but only now has Quinlan publicly pronounced sentence. And that sentence is: “Quinlan Private is pleased to confirm that the Oman Investment Fund…has acquired a 50% partnership interest in Jurys Inns”. One report suggests that Oman Investment Fund, which is wholly owned by the government of the sultanate of Oman, paid €200 million for the partnership. Jurys Inns, the chain of three-star hotels, is in expansive mood, having journeyed from its traditional haunts – the Republic of Ireland and the UK – for adventures in continental Europe. Jurys Inn hotels are set to open in Prague and Budapest in 2010. Quinlan Private, the private equity and real estate group, bought Jurys Inns from JDH Acquisitions last summer in a deal worth around €1.1 billion.

Travelodge Travels The Country To Scoop More Hotels

Travelodge announced last month that it wanted to spend more time at the seaside. So those who received postcards from the company this week will not have been surprised to find two of them postmarked Blackpool and Newquay. In its quest to have added 4,000 rooms to its portfolio by the end of 2008, Travelodge visited those two English resorts and booked a hotel in each. The company also visited areas of England where sea water is unlikely ever to lap, unless global warming really takes hold: the city of Lancaster, the Perry Barr area of Birmingham, and Hounslow, in Greater London. Travelodge invested £31 million in the five hotels, which share a total of almost 500 rooms.

Fresh Start For The Endsleigh

The Polizzi family has sold the Hotel Endsleigh to Everlands, the US hotel investment company, for an undisclosed sum. The 16-room hotel occupies a Grade I listed building and stands in grounds of 108 acres in the village of Milton Abbot, in Devon, southwest England. Everlands, whose first hotel in the UK this is, is said to be looking for 15 “founder investors” in the UK willing to make an investment of £500,000 secured against the hotel.

De Vere Looking To Have The Edge In The Borders

Hotel operator De Vere and developer Manor Kingdom Estates have submitted plans to build what is reported to be the first five-star hotel in the Borders region of Scotland. Eighteen acres of land near the village of West Linton, to the south of Edinburgh, will be the setting for the 150-room Rutherford Castle Hotel, in which Manor Kingdom is to invest a reported £50 million. If the partners are given consent, then they expect to begin work later this year. De Vere already has a ‘castle’ in the region: the 78-room Barony Castle hotel, near Peebles.

Aurora's Stirling Work

The Scottish press reports that Aurora Hotels has submitted an application to develop a five-star hotel in the city of Stirling, in central Scotland. Aurora wants to convert a listed nineteenth-century building that once served as the city’s infirmary into a 40-room boutique hotel that will take the name Colessio. Work is set to start as soon as permission is granted, and an opening date of summer 2009 has been set.

Ramada Belfast Ready To Expand

Andras House is reportedly ready to invest at least £10 million in the extension and upgrading of the Ramada Belfast in Northern Ireland. The work will include the addition of 90 guest rooms to the 120-room hotel and the creation of 39 serviced executive suites. The finished product will swap its Ramada brand for Ramada Plaza. Andras House is the biggest developer and operator of hotels in Belfast; besides the Ramada hotel it operates a Days Hotel, an Express by Holiday Inn and Renshaws Hotel, and is currently constructing an Ibis hotel.

After Three Rings Don't Call Them Dolce International

Dolce International does not answer to that name anymore. From now on you must address the company that has 24 hotels shared among the USA, Canada and Europe as Dolce Hotels and Resorts. There is a new logo to admire, with the ‘o’ of Dolce formed by three interlinked rings offset slightly one from another. One ring symbolises ‘nourishment’ and Dolce’s desire to raise the dining experience at its hotels. Another ring represents ‘connectivity’: a commitment to introducing new brand standards and an improvement in technology, for example. The third ring is for ‘community’; that is, the provision of superior customer service and the honouring of the company’s green credentials. Look out for Dolce tossing a metaphorical ring in future to encircle Asia and the Middle East: regions in which the company wants to expand.

Kiessling's Corner

If the owners of the Hotel España de Barcelona secure the approval of the council, then they will begin work next May on transforming the hotel in Barcelona from a two-star hotel into a four-star. The new hotel is expected to have 90 rooms. Another hotel that is looking to be refurbished is Casa del Gobernador that stands on the island of Tabarca, offshore from the city of Alicante. An investment of €6,000 a year over the next 15 years will be made if the project is approved. Elsewhere, Room Mate Hotels has signed a contract to manage the Clarin hotel in the city of Oviedo as the Room Mate Marcos. The 47-room hotel will reopen after refurbishment work on a date as yet unspecified. By Gabriele Kiessling, Analyst, HVS Madrid

A Fistful Of Dollars

The figures for the six months to 30 June 2008 are the first set of figures from InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) to be reported in US dollars, the currency that replaces sterling in IHG’s affections whenever results time comes around. So God may still save the Queen but IHG prefers now to save individual portraits of George Washington; and, despite market conditions, IHG managed to amass more than a few copies. Operating profit was up 28%, to US$291 million, and revenue was 14% higher, at US$952 million. Marketwide RevPAR grew by 4%.

Hark, It's The International Hotel Conference

They say walls have ears; if so, then the walls of the Rome Cavalieri Hilton will have absorbed plenty of useful information about the wider hotel world. For the last two years they have listened in on a host of distinguished speakers who have gathered to address the International Hotel Conference. Walls though do not as yet have the power of speech, so pressing your ear to the wall will yield disappointing results. The only way you can become as knowledgeable as this set of Italian bricks is to book yourself a place in the audience for what is the sixth such annual gathering. You will be well rewarded if you do. HVS London is contributing two of its own ‘bricks’: Russell Kett, managing director, and Gabi Baumann, associate director, to the list of speakers. You won’t be banging your head against a brick wall in frustration at missing out if you go now and book at www.internationalhotelconference.com click here

The Eighth European Hotel Investment and Finance Summit Is Nigh

The month before the International Hotel Conference is the European Hotel Investment and Finance Summit: the eighth in the annual series brought to you by Euromoney Seminars. Russell Kett will again be on the podium, this time at the Hilton London Tower Bridge, giving an opening-day presentation, on 9 September, entitled “The 2008/2009 hotel forecast – what does the future hold for the sector?”. The two-day event brings together a host of leading figures from the hospitality world. To reserve your place, visit www.euromoneyseminars.com click here

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 7-14 August 2008

InterContinental Hotels Group - Deutsche Bank had a 'Hold' rating and raised its target price from 775p to 800p.

Sol Meliá - At the end of last week Cheuvreux gave an 'Underperform' rating and cut its target price from €7.48 to €6.80.

Whitbread - The company's share price was one of many that fell on news that UK inflation had risen last month by more than twice the Bank of England's official target.

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