HVS EMEA Hospitality Enews - Week Ending 5 September 2008

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

Double W For The UK

W Hotels. You can seek them here, you can seek them there; but until now you would not have found them anywhere in the UK. Seek again – no, not in Regent Street, but in Leicester Square – and you will at last find what you have been looking for. The W brand will arrive in the heart of the West End of London in late 2010 in the shape of the 194-room W London-Leicester Square and an accompanying set of ten residences: The Residences at W London-Leicester Square. The properties are to be part of a mixed-use development on the site of the Swiss Centre. Next, you need to turn your gaze on the northwest of England, where in 2010 the city of Manchester will be welcoming the W Manchester. The hotel, which is to be built by West Properties at the mixed-use development called Origin, is to have around 160 rooms.

Midstar Makes A Purchase In Sweden

Midstar is a hotel investment company that was set up at the start of this year by the Swedish private equity firm Sveafastigheter. Midstar has as its purpose the acquisition of hotels of more than 75 rooms in the Baltic region and other parts of northern Europe; and, some eight months on from its foundation, Midstar has made its first purchase. Its spree began in the town of Örnsköldsvik, on the east coast of Sweden, where it paid Anders Nyberg Måleri & Fastigheter a reported SKr37 million (€3.9 million) for the 103-room Scandic Örnsköldsvik.

New Exhibits From MGallery

The new brand MGallery is an upscale scion of the Mercure brand. Accor says that hotels with the new brand have individual personalities that fall into one of four categories: vision, design, history and location. Certainly, the personalities of the first eight hotels to open have been forceful enough to charm the Sofitel and Grand Hotel Mercure flags from their poles. Of this initial eight, six are to open in Europe. Three are in France: the Baltimore, in Paris; Le Royal, in Lyons; and the Grand Hotel Beauvau, in Marseilles. Switzerland has two – the Rotary, in Geneva, and the Continental, in Zürich – and Austria just the one, for now: the Hotel am Konzerthaus, in Vienna.

Sovereign To Help Accor Build In Ethiopia

Sovereign Hospitality Holdings likes to share itself around. Not so long ago it was dating InterContinental Hotels Group and now it has been seen on the arm of Accor, Accor’s African arm to be exact, heading into Ethiopia. Sovereign is to invest more than US$35 million in the development of two hotels that are to be operated by Accor Afrique in the business district of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The hotels – a 118-room Novotel and a 154-room Ibis – are due to open in 2010.

A Bit Of Bunny About The Playboy Club

The former Playboy Club on Park Lane, in central London, is to be turned into a hotel in work that is set to start early next year. The building, which closed its doors as a club and casino in 1982, will be refurbished and turned into a 48-room hotel that will be operated by The Dorchester Collection.

Chopin Performing In Prague

When Good King Wenceslas last looked out, that 80-room hotel near his square was still assuredly an Express by Holiday Inn. He popped round Stephen’s for a feast, came back, and looked out again to find that the hotel had become the Hotel Chopin. The king’s surprise was tempered when he recalled that a man had come into his sight just before he left. That man was from Vienna International Hotelmanagement, out to gather an eighth hotel in Prague to fuel his company’s management portfolio in the Czech capital. Vienna International took over at the three-star hotel, which is owned by Hunter Property Fund Management, on 1 September.

Cardinal To Be Blessed By Choice

Clarion Collection will be celebrating its twenty-first on New Year’s Day 2009: its twenty-first hotel in Sweden, that is. Choice Hotels Scandinavia has signed a deal with the company JESAB in Växjö that will see the 111-room First Hotel Cardinal, in the southern city of Växjö, take the name Clarion Collection Hotel Cardinal.

Starwood's Hotel Group: A Matt At The Front Door, A Matt Out The Back

Matthew Avril, the co-president of Starwood Vacation Ownership, is to be the next president of Starwood’s Hotel Group, in succession to Matt Ouimet. Avril will oversee hotel operations worldwide and Starwood’s global sales organisation. Meanwhile, on the departure boards at Wyndham Worldwide is displayed the name of Steven Rudnitsky. He is leaving his post as the president and chief executive of Wyndham Hotel Group to pursue other interests; his successor will be announced in due course.

A Trading Update From Whitbread

Whitbread is due to announce its interim results on 14 October. For those who will get hungry for financials long before then, here is a Mars bar of a set of figures to tide you over. In the first 24 weeks (to 14 August) of its latest financial year Whitbread recorded a rise in total sales of 14.2%. The balance sheet smelled strongly of coffee, the Costa chain returning the highest sales growth, of 23.6%. The aroma of the bean masked the scent of Premier Inn on this occasion, which had to settle for second place in the total sales chart with its figure of 17.9% growth. The Premier Inn hotels’ collective RevPAR was certainly not to be sniffed at: an increase of 5.8%.

The International Hotel Conference Story: All Cocktails And No Bull

Cocktail parties and occasional prize draws: reasons enough surely to go straight to www.internationalhotelconference.com click here and book your place at the sixth annual International Hotel Conference. But it’s not all booze and €1,000 giveaways; attendees might even imbibe some useful information about the hospitality world while waiting for the bartender to line up their next “Elephant Charger”. On the list of distinguished speakers and moderators is Russell Kett, the managing director of HVS’s London office. He will be joined for the three-day event, which begins at the Rome Cavalieri Hilton on 15 October, by colleague Gabi Baumann, associate director. Others that you're sure to want to cock an ear at include Gabriele Burgio (NH Hoteles), Hans Kennedie (Golden Tulip) and Ramsey Mankarious (Cedar Capital Partners).

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 28 August-4 September 2008

InterContinental Hotels Group - The share price rose as the company announced that it had sold the Jamaica Holiday Inn Sunspree Hotel for US$2 million more than the book value.

Accor - The share price rallied on news that oil prices had eased, after it had fallen earlier in the week as UBS cut its rating from 'Neutral' to 'Sell' and lowered its target price from €47.0 to €43.0.

Whitbread - Cazenove had an 'Outperform' rating and said it was encouraged that Whitbread's core business was showing no signs of 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
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