HVS EMEA Hospitality Enews - Week Ending 6 February 2009

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

Morocco's Vision For Essaouira

The government of Morocco has signed a letter of intent with Vision 3 (a strategic alliance formed in 2008 between Gulf Finance House, Ithmaar Bank and Abu Dhabi Investment House) for the development of a US$1.8 billion mixed-use health and tourism complex in the city of Essaouira, on the Atlantic coast, in southern Morocco, North Africa. The resort will include real estate and tourism components but no information is currently available on the opening date.

What's In A Name?...

...That which is called Radisson SAS by any other name would still be a brand recognised worldwide, thought Rezidor Hotel Group. Since 2006, when Rezidor was born on the Stockholm Stock Exchange and ceased to be formally connected to the SAS Group, Rezidor has continued to operate the Radisson SAS brand; however, 2009 has brought a new name and a splash of colour to the brand as 170 Radisson SAS properties across the EMEA region are to change their name to Radisson Blu. The idea for the name Blu comes from the blue box that contained the SAS on the original Radisson SAS logo.

A Blu Hotel For Switzerland

Switzerland has become the proud owner of the very first hotel to open under Rezidor’s new brand: the 330-room Radisson Blu Hotel, Zürich Airport recently took off in the northeastern city of Zürich. As well as being the first of its kind, the hotel also has a 16-metre-high wine tower (one of only three such towers worldwide) in its lobby which can hold up to 4,000 bottles of wine and champagne.

The Reception Bell To Ring Once More At The Hotel Bellevue

After being closed for ten years, the Hotel Bellevue in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana is to dust off its welcome mat and once more open its doors to guests. The hotel’s owner the Maribor Student Employment Service has signed a pre-contract sales memorandum with a Slovenian subsidiary of Luxembourg-based, Jordanian company Mawared International. The sale price is undisclosed but the hotel was put on the market at the end of 2008 for €7 million. The restoration of the hotel, which was built at the beginning of the twentieth century and declared to be a cultural monument of local importance by Ljubljana city council in 2007, is expected to cost around €15 million.

The Osborne Group To Redevelop Armagh's Jail Into a Boutique Hotel

Ever fancied spending a night in the cells? In the town of Armagh, Northern Ireland, there will no longer be any need to be drunk and disorderly as you will soon be able to pay for the privilege! Developer Trevor Osborne, of the Osborne Group, has signed a deal with Armagh Council, the owner of the jail for the past ten years, in order to convert the 200-year-old prison into a boutique hotel. Rumours abound that the hotel is to be part of the Malmaison chain. This is not Trevor Osborne’s first brush with the law as the Osborne Group has previous form: one of its recently completed projects in the city of Oxford, England, was the regeneration of Oxford Castle and the city's old jail into a mixed-use development including the 94-room Malmaison Oxford.

Starwood Reports Its Results For The Fourth Quarter Of 2008

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has announced that its net income for the fourth quarter of 2008 was US$79 million, compared to US$146 million for the same period in 2007. Worldwide RevPAR for owned, leased and consolidated joint venture hotels decreased by 19.6%. However, Starwood is still set to open its 1,000th hotel in 2009; Frits van Paasschen, Starwood’s president and chief executive officer, commented that “We have to respond to the current environment but not compromise our ability to grow”.

Kiessling's Corner

Gabriele Kiessling, HVS Analyst, Madrid, with the latest news from Spain. The Lorca Resort is to open in Murcia in 2010 between Lorca and Aguilas. The mixed-use resort will include two hotels, with 86 rooms and 110 rooms, respectively, which are to be developed by Grupo Alze. The total cost of the resort is expected to be around €300 million, of which €33 million is to be used for the hotels. The resort will also have a 27-hole golf course.

The 2009 Hotel Investment Forum

An early reminder to all our readers to book a place now for the International Hotel Investment Forum – the twelfth in the series, don’t you know – that is to be held at the InterContinental Berlin from 9 to 11 March 2009. Conference goers will be getting an extra half day for their money this year as the forum is to start earlier on Monday 9 March with a new session called Investment Day, which focuses on the economy and investment. This year’s speakers include HVS London’s Russell Kett and Tim Smith, Charles Human from HVS Hodges Ward Elliott and Philip Bacon from HVS Madrid. Click here for more information or to book your ticket.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 29 January 2009-5 February 2009

Accor - Accor has issued a €600 million bond which will mature in 2014.

Whitbread - Whitbread's shares rose modestly after a downgrade to underperform from outperform.

NH Hoteles - NH Hoteles hit a 52-week low with a price of €3.05.

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 Directorrkett@hvs.com
Charles Human, Managing Director – HVS HWEchuman@hvshwe.com
Tim Smith, Directortsmith@hvs.com
Demetris Spanos, Managing Director – HVS Athensdspanos@hvs.com
Hala Matar Choufany, Managing Director – HVS Dubaihchoufany@hvs.com
Christopher Mumford, Managing Director – Executive Searchcmumford@hvs.com
Philip Bacon, Managing Director – HVS Madrid and Managing Director, EMEA & Asia – HVS Shared Ownership Servicespbacon@hvs.com
Louise Fury, EMEA Hospitality Enews Authorlfury@hvs.com