HVS EMEA Hospitality Enews - Week Ending 24 October 2008

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

Crete, Meet Sol Meliá

The island of Crete will next summer greet a five-star hotel from Sol Meliá. The Spanish hotelier has signed a management agreement with Greek firm Hellas Holidays Hotels on a 250-room Gran Meliá hotel in the Ágios Nikólaos region of the Mediterranean island. The hotel, which will be Sol Meliá’s third in Greece, will also provide 50 villas.

Arabella Hung Up On Windhoek

Freedom Plaza is the name of a mixed-use development costing a reported R2 billion (roughly US$200 million) that will be open for business in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, in around two years’ time. A four-star Arabella Sheraton hotel and a ‘six-star’ hotel with the African Pride name, which between them will have a total of 350 rooms, will be part of the development. South African firms Madison Property Fund Managers and Swish Properties will be crossing the border to begin phase one of the work this November.

Doubletree by Hilton Opens In Italy

In July 2007 Hilton Hotels Corporation (HHC) promised Italy that she would have continental Europe’s first Doubletree by Hilton hotel in October 2008; and, right on time, those boys have delivered. The 240-room Doubletree by Hilton Milan will be operated under franchise by G&W Hotel Invest. Italy will have double the Doubletree pleasure come mid 2009, the time when a Doubletree by Hilton is due to open as part of a golf resort in Acaia, in the extreme south of the country.

Kempinski Opens The Space Race In Prague

If that cat you have by the tail swings round admirably freely then chances are you are in one of the 75 guest rooms at Kempinski Hotels’ newly opened property in the Czech Republic. Kempinski says that the rooms and suites at the Kempinski Hybernská Prague are the most spacious luxury rooms in the Czech capital. When you put the cat out on the front step at night, take a moment to look up at the glorious façade of the restored listed seventeenth-century building that the hotel occupies.

The Hagley Road Mystery

An unnamed local hotel operator has bought the freehold to the Norfolk Hotel from an unnamed private overseas investor. Even the sales price is a mystery, although the asking price is known; it was £6 million. The 169-room, three-star Norfolk Hotel stands on the Hagley Road, in the Edgbaston district of the city of Birmingham.

Supermarket Aldi Offers A New Line

In these straitened financial times (which we may read about in the Financial Times) the food pound does not stretch as far as it used to. So we give thanks for cut-price supermarkets like Aldi and emerge, heavily laden, wishing that we could still afford the petrol for the car. During that gloomy wait at the bus stop our hospitality-wired brains think how nice it would be to have a hotel right next to the supermarket, save that wearisome journey home. Of course, it would have to be a budget hotel, and this is where Travelodge answers our prayers; you shoppers in the northeast and southwest of England will be the first to find salvation. Aldi and Travelodge have teamed up and are developing a 55-room hotel in Middlesbrough and a 74-room hotel in Newquay. Travelodge, which has invested a total of £4.9 million in the hotels, takes the leasehold and Aldi the freehold.

An Express By Holiday Inn For Manchester

Towards the end of 2007 Sanguine Hospitality, a company formed at the start of that year, applied for permission to replace a three-storey building on Oxford Road in the centre of Manchester with a hotel. Reports from the northwest of England indicate that permission has been granted. Work to build a 147-room Express by Holiday Inn hotel will begin early next year.

Bow Street A Runner

Edward Holdings has been granted permission to proceed, in an orderly manner, with its plans to turn the former police station and magistrates’ court on Bow Street, in central London, into a luxury hotel. Edward Holdings acquired the Grade II listed premises in 2005 and there were reports last autumn that the hotel would take the G Hotel brand. Elsewhere in central London, an Irish consortium is to start work next summer on the redevelopment of the Odeon cinema on Leicester Square. Filmgoers will be relieved to hear that the replacement building will have a new Odeon cinema, together with five restaurants (doubtless serving something slightly more adventurous than popcorn) and a 240-room hotel that will have either a four-star or a five-star rating.

Kiessling's Corner

Sandos Hotels & Resorts will, next summer, open the Sandos Monaco Hotel & Spa in the Spanish resort of Benidorm; the hotel will be a second in Spain for Sandos. The new hotel, which will have 175 rooms, is a former three-star property that was managed by MarConfort. Meanwhile, Room Mate has plans to have 40 hotels open by 2011 and took steps towards reaching this total with the recent opening of two three-star hotels in the city of Granada: the 33-room Room Mate Leo and the 19-room Room Mate Shalma. Room Mate’s future projects will be located in the areas of Seville, Jerez and Cordoba. By Gabriele Kiessling, Analyst, HVS Madrid

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 16-23 October 2008

InterContinental Hotels Group - Late on in the week UBS raised its rating from 'Neutral' to 'Buy', although UBS did cut the target price from 790p to 660p.

Sol Meliá - JP Morgan gave an 'Underweight' rating and cut its target price from €5.00 to €4.50.

NH Hoteles - Fortis Bank retained its 'Underweight' rating and gave a target price of €10.60.

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
Tim Smith, Director tsmith@hvs.com
Demetris Spanos, Managing Director – HVS Athens dspanos@hvs.com
Hala Matar Choufany, Managing 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