Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 2 April 2004
IHG Is Invited To The Festival
Spring Finds Santa Claus In Hungary
Accor Brings Its 100 Up With A Novel Stroke
Quinn Enjoys Hammer Time
Hesperia Takes La Toja In Hand
Knightsbridge On Sea
Crystal Palace: A Fixture In Turkey Next April
All Eyes On Katerina In Russia
The Burlington Bows To Macdonald Hotels
Bos, Munns and Wendler By Appointment
Soning Satisfied As Gresham's Profit Rises

IHG Is Invited To The Festival
The Al Futtaim Group has lined up InterContinental Hotels Group to manage a 600-room hotel that is rising on the Crescent portion of the Dubai Festival City development. HVS International advised the Al Futtaim Group on what will be the InterContinental Dubai Festival City Hotel, which is costing some US$163 million to build and which is due to open in January 2007. Kempinski Hotels & Resorts too has booked a ticket for what will be its first trip to Dubai; it has been awarded the contract to manage the Kempinski Resort Mall of the Emirates, a five-star hotel of more than 400 rooms which is to open at the Mall of the Emirates mixed-use development in September 2005. In anticipation of its having company, the Hyatt Regency Dubai has decided it had best go and freshen up; renovation work at the 400-room, five-star hotel will last until mid 2005. Four construction companies have been drawn to Bahrain with the promise that one of them will be awarded the contract to build two 45-storey towers – together known as the Sheraton Garden City – as an extension to the Bahrain Sheraton Hotel in the capital Manama.

Spring Finds Santa Claus In Hungary Return to Headlines
The authorities in the central Hungarian town of Nagykarácsony are to spend a reported US$7.4 million on the construction of a Santa Claus Village, a mixed-use development that will feature a four-star hotel. Hungary is the eighth country to fall to the advancing Park Inn brand. Rezidor SAS Hospitality will build the 220-room Park Inn Sárvár alongside the new Sárvár Spa, with the hotel opening at the end of 2005. That same corner of northwestern Hungary has found room for another spa complex, the first phase of which was recently completed for a cost of a reported US$24.5 million. The complex in the town of Pápa will now receive a hotel, among other facilities. Italian architects Giammetta & Giammetta have designs in store for a spa in central Romania: the Polivalent Flame hotel and spa complex, which will occupy a site in the Prahova Valley.

Accor Brings Its 100 Up With A Novel Stroke Return to Headlines
Listen out for the applause as it ripples around central and eastern Europe to greet the news that Accor has opened its 100th hotel in the region. The 159-room Novotel Vilnius deserves an extra round for in addition being the first Novotel in Lithuania. The hotel, which Accor developed in partnership with UAB Pinus Proprius, came into Orbis's ownership last June as one of 11 hotels that the Polish company purchased from its principal shareholder for €92 million. Having scored its century, Accor went on to declare that the 260-room Ibis Praha Smichov in the Czech capital Prague would be the first of a total of 15 new hotels that it would be opening in central and eastern Europe by the end of 2005. The company already has plans to work with Pinus and Orbis to bring an Ibis hotel to each of the other capitals of the Baltic States: Tallinn in Estonia and Riga in Latvia.

Quinn Enjoys Hammer Time Return to Headlines
The Quinn Group went along to the auction rooms towards the end of last month and came away with a fistful of euro from the sale of two of its five hotels in Ireland. Vincent O'Reilly of the Navan-based Steen O'Reilly & Co Solicitors raised his paddle on behalf of hotelier John Cusack when the bidding for the three-star Ardboyne Hotel had reached €5 million; the 29-room property in Navan, Co. Meath, sold subsequently for an undisclosed sum but one that was above the €6.5 million asking price. Private hotelier Colm Herron scratched his ear at the correct moment and secured the 44-room, four-star Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan, Co. Monaghan, for a reported €6.5 million.

Hesperia Takes La Toja In Hand Return to Headlines
Hesperia Hoteles has taken the managerial reins from La Toja Hoteles at three of the latter's properties in the northwestern region of Galicia: the five-star Gran Hotel La Toja, the five-star La Toja Finisterre and the four-star La Toja Isla. Aside from that deal Hesperia has also acquired a building in the northern resort of San Sebastián that it will convert into a four-star hotel; the 46-room property is set to open in early 2006. Tractebel Development Engineering will also be a firm believer in the adage that good things come in threes after seeing three projects in which it has been involved come to fruition in the town of Spa in eastern Belgium. The trio are the recently opened 120-room Radisson SAS Palace Hotel, the thermal spa operated by Eurothermes on the hillside above and the funicular lift that connects the two buildings.

Knightsbridge On Sea Return to Headlines
The Knightsbridge Hotel is the name being given to a five-storey hotel and casino complex that could soon be rising in the Lancashire seaside town of Lytham St Anne's. On the opposite side of England, meanwhile, City & Northern has received permission to build a 50-room hotel as part of a £40 million scheme in Gateshead. Down on the south coast, three parties have submitted plans to build a 60-bed hotel as part of a mixed-use development in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, while up in Scotland, North Lanarkshire Council is drawing up proposals to redevelop the site of the former Ravenscraig steelworks; hotel accommodation would be a feature of the £20 million mixed-use project. And a local press report suggests that InterContinental Hotels Group is poised to purchase the three-star Westhill Hotel near Aberdeen and rebrand it as an Express by Holiday Inn. Westhill Inn put the 37-room property up for sale last month with an asking price reported to be more than £1 million.

Crystal Palace: A Fixture In Turkey Next April Return to Headlines
The southern coast of Turkey – the Turkish Riviera – will receive a new five-star hotel in April 2005: the 351-room Crystal Palace Resort Hotel & Spa, which will open in Belek. Elsewhere in Turkey, 15 April is a date worth noting, as that is the day when the 119-room Hilton ParkSA Istanbul is due to reopen after enjoying a two-month renovation. Off the Turkish coast on the island of Cyprus, native travel firm Amathus Navigation is reportedly ready to build the 80-unit Amathus Vacation Club in the southern resort of Paphos.

All Eyes On Katerina In Russia Return to Headlines
Ask Russian hoteliers what they think of when they hear the name Katerina and an initial response might be two hotels of that brand in Moscow. However, the Universal Management and Consulting Company (UMACO) might prefer them to think more of mountains, especially those due south of Moscow near the Black Sea resort of Sochi where latent promise is waiting to be unlocked. For some commentators feel that once UMACO – a pioneer of the aparthotel concept in Russia – has opened two such properties in Krasnaya Poliana, the 93-unit Katerina-Alpik complex and the 174-unit Katerina-Residence, then the way is open for Katerina to go on and establish itself as the first significant brand of wholly Russian origin. UMACO’s ambition is to grow the brand across Russia, but to realise this the company may need to quicken the pace: the development of the Katerina brand hitherto could hardly be accused of speeding.

The Burlington Bows To Macdonald Hotels Return to Headlines
Macdonald Hotels has signed a 20-year lease agreement to operate The Burlington Hotel in the centre of Birmingham. The 112-room, four-star property, which is owned by Hortellux, a subsidiary of Hortons' Estate, will now be treated to a six-month refurbishment costing a reported £1 million. Elsewhere, away to the southwest in Gloucestershire, The Royalist Hotel in Stow-on-the-Wold has exchanged one private owner for another. The 12-room, three-star property is the oldest inn in England – it dates from 947 AD – and sold for an undisclosed sum off an asking price of £1.85 million.

Bos, Munns and Wendler By Appointment Return to Headlines
Golden Tulip Hotels (GTH) has announced that it did on 1 April 2004 knowingly appoint Jos Bos to the new position of general counsel. However, in addition to his legal role, Mr Bos, who was formerly with Dutch law firm Simmons & Simmons Trenite, has a brief to create strategic alliances with hotel partners in countries where GTH currently has little or no presence. Rocco Forte Hotels will have a new Group Finance Director in place on 4 May, when David Munns moves from his role as Chief Financial Officer with The Financial Times Publishing Group to succeed Kash Chandarana. Meanwhile, Boutique Hotels & Resorts International is settling Chris Wendler into an office in Berlin, from where he will lead the company's European operations in marketing and development.

Soning Satisfied As Gresham's Profit Rises Return to Headlines
Chairman Harvey Soning pronounced himself satisfied with Gresham Hotel Group's performance for the year to 31 December 2003. It was a satisfaction drawn from seeing the company increase its pre-tax profit by 40.2% to €1.7 million on turnover down 5.5% at approximately €47.9 million. It should be noted that the period to which the 2003 figures are compared is the 11 months to 31 December 2002. The company kept marketwide occupancy steady at 76%, but the marketwide average rate slipped slightly, by 1.1%, to finish on €84. Mr Soning noted that he could make no predictions for trading in the coming year while Gresham was in the present offer period resulting from its ongoing talks with a consortium of investors. That consortium closed the month of March by trimming the value of its indicative offer from €1.45 a share to €1.35 after it had conducted due diligence.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 25/03/04-01/04/04

Sol Meliá - The share price put on weight as the Spanish markets rallied on news of firm US futures.

De Vere Group - UBS retains its 'Buy-2' rating on the stock.

Hilton Group - Seymour Pierce, viewing the stock from the betting angle, keeps a 'Buy' rating.