Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 2 July 2004
Hungary Fills Up On Ibis
AC Hotels Leads A Healthy Spanish Market
Sunny Intervals And Hail Caesar In Beirut
Turkey Sorted For A Princess
The Effect Ice Hockey Can Have On Hotels In Latvia
UPDC To Bring Novotel To Nigeria
Rocco Rolls Up At Le Richemond
Jennings' Adventures In Stafford
My Box Key, Please, Frontie

Hungary Fills Up On Ibis
A couple of weeks ago the Romanian press brought us news of Accor's intended exploits in their country. Now it is the turn of their counterparts in Hungary to report on what the company is up to within their borders, and it is this: Accor's local arm Pannonia Hotels is planning to invest a reported €50 million over the next two to three years in a programme of construction and renovation work. The programme gives star billing to the Ibis brand, which will rise once in the east in the city of Debrecen and once in the northwestern city of Györ. The existing stock of four Ibis hotels in the capital Budapest will share some 200 new rooms among them, and they could see one or two new hotels join their family by 2006. It is in Budapest that Pannonia will execute the second part of the programme; the renovation work will take €20 million from the pot, money which will be divided equally between the Novotel Budapest Congress and the Sofitel Atrium Budapest. Plenty here then to occupy Patrick Bourguignon as he steps up later this month to succeed Gyula Harbula as Pannonia's Chief Executive. Mr Harbula becomes Chairman of the company's board.

AC Hotels Leads A Healthy Spanish Market Return to Headlines
AC Hotels is reportedly ready to start work at the end of this year on a hotel dedicated to the health tourist; the 38-room property will open in the northwestern city of Orense in 2006. The company is itself in the pink in that particular corner of Spain at present, having recently opened the 78-room AC Gijón. AC Hotels' compatriot GR Hoteles, meanwhile, has had the tonic of seeing the Clarion Hotel Pulitzer open in Barcelona; GR Hoteles invested a reported €16.8 million in the construction of the 91-room property. InterContinental Hotels Group might agree that the air in the northeast of the country is particularly invigorating; the company has opened the 116-room Express by Holiday Inn Zaragoza. The financial health of Olama Sultán Mohamed Sharif is clearly not in doubt; the owner of the likes of the Hotel Diana Park in Estepona has paid a reported €43.6 million to Asesoramiento y Dirección de Hoteles for the 350-room Torrequebrada hotel in Benalmádena, near Málaga.

Sunny Intervals And Hail Caesar In Beirut Return to Headlines
Once the Sun Hills Suites Resort has fully risen in the Lebanese capital Beirut, it will find itself an affiliate of leading global vacation exchange provider Interval International. The city has also drawn Mexican operator Grupo Posadas away from its traditional territory of Latin America to open a three-star Caesar Park hotel. Meanwhile, renovation work costing a reported US$250,000 has been completed at the Herods Vitalis Spa; the property in the Israeli resort of Eilat is part of The Luxury Collection of Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

Turkey Sorted For A Princess Return to Headlines
Iberotel Hotels & Resorts has chosen Türkbükü Bay as the location for its third hotel in Turkey: the five-star Iberotel Bodrum Princess. The 500-room property cost a reported US$62 million to build. The thrill of opening a new hotel will soon be felt by native company Sezer Group, which will shortly unveil the 228-room Club Grand Aqua. Its compatriot NET Holding had to cross water to reach its party: the one to celebrate the reopening of the 88-room Merit Cyprus Gardens in the Cypriot city of Famagusta. The company is reported to be talking with a group of unnamed Israeli investors with a view to adding 100 beds and other facilities to the resort in work costing US$40 million.

The Effect Ice Hockey Can Have On Hotels In Latvia Return to Headlines
Latvia plays host to the ice hockey world championships in 2006, a good enough reason as any for a hotel to want to look its best. The 382-room Reval Hotel Latvija in the capital Riga will thus be getting its skates on to ensure that a second round of renovation work can be finished by April 2006. Work costing a reported €20 million is due to begin this October to add 200 guest rooms and new conference facilities. If the Latvian government decrees that the clash of hockey sticks should also be heard in the coastal town of Liepāja, and hence builds a second rink in readiness, then businessman Andris Grigis will make his play. His plans call for a new hotel costing up to a reported €4.5 million to accommodate some 300 guests. Hot water rather than ice is of more interest to Slovenia's Sava Group, as it has shown by paying brewer Pivovarna Laško a reported €17.7 million for the Zdravilišče Radenci spa resort in northeastern Slovenia.

UPDC To Bring Novotel To Nigeria Return to Headlines
Nigerian property development and management company UPDC has secured a loan of US$11 million from the International Finance Corporation that will allow its subsidiary UPDC Hotels to start work on the renovation of the Festac 77 hotel complex in Lagos. The 432-room, three-star Novotel Festac Lagos will result from the work, which is to cost a reported US$32 million in total. The west of Africa is now a little more familiar to Cresta Hospitality, which has chosen the capital of Ghana as the location for its first hotel in the region: the 100-room, four-star Cresta Royale Accra. Portuguese firm Evidência Grupo prefers more northerly climes; it is reportedly interested in paying out €10 million for two hotels in Morocco.

Rocco Rolls Up At Le Richemond Return to Headlines
Rocco Forte Hotels has made its entry into Switzerland with the acquisition of the Le Richemond hotel in the city of Geneva. Sir Rocco Forte and Family (Luxury Hotels), a joint venture formed by Sir Rocco Forte and Bank of Scotland Corporate paid Richemond Hotels Holding SA, Luxembourg €66 million for Société Anonyme de l'Hotel Richemond A.R. Armleder, the owner of the freehold on not only the 98-room hotel but also the buildings adjoining; these buildings will be involved in a renovation programme that will take the hotel's room count to 125 next year.

Jennings' Adventures In Stafford Return to Headlines
House builder Jennings Homes has acquired the 60-room, three-star Garth Hotel in Stafford from Corus Hotels for a reported £4.2 million – the net book value of the property at the end of 2003. Away to the northwest, meanwhile, Centre Island Developments, which counts the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Liverpool among its possessions, has added to its stock in the city by paying an undisclosed sum for the privately owned Trials Hotel. The new owners will treat the 20-suite, four-star boutique property to a £1 million refurbishment. Refurbishment is the dominant word among the many that will fall from the lips of Peel Hotels as it talks to Bristol city council about its multimillion-pound plans to renovate the 76-room Avon Gorge Hotel. The tools of refurbishment will not yet be needed at the 132-room Radisson SAS Hotel, Sligo, freshly minted as it is in the northwest of Ireland. And bulldozers will be of considerably more use than brooms to Roxylight and Laing O'Rourke in their redevelopment of the former Vauxhall Motors plant in Luton, Bedfordshire. The 55-acre site is expected to welcome hotel accommodation as part of a mixed-use scheme.

My Box Key, Please, Frontie Return to Headlines
Make such a request on your arrival at any other hotel in the world and the staff might wonder if you have your phrasebook upside-down. However, repeat those words at The Cube in the Austrian resort of Tröpolach and the receptionist (the 'frontie') will gladly hand over the key to your room (the 'box'). Cube Hotels' homage in glass and stainless steel to its favourite solid could be replicated as many as 15 times over the next three to four years; the company has already secured two sites in Switzerland and one in the Austrian Tyrol, where the Swarovski company is reportedly ready to help with the construction work. Cube Hotels expects to have these three properties open by December 2005.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 24/06/04-01/07/04

InterContinental Hotels Group - The share price rose amid renewed hopes in the market for the hotel sector.

Sol Meliá - A rise in US interest rates lifted share prices across the Spanish market.

Accor - Dealers expect strong earnings performances from companies on the CAC-40 index this year; Société Générale named Accor as one of its favourites to perform well.