Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 23 July 2004
Further Proof That Thistle Is No Wallflower When It Comes To Selling
Whitbread Wins The Race For Premier Lodge
A Spanish Odyssey
Mövenpick's Paris Dream Is Now Reality
Hotels In Kiev Could Score 'Douze Points'
Boutique Call For Bellinter House In Ireland
CHE Group Places Shares To Aid Development
Starwood Pleased With Its Second Quarter
Tidings Of Comfort Inn Joy
Cyprus Proves A Popular Destination This Summer
It's Game On In Morocco For Kerzner
NH Hoteles Is Strong In The First Half

Further Proof That Thistle Is No Wallflower When It Comes To Selling
Barely a month after it sold two properties in London Thistle Hotels is to return to the marketplace, this time with seven assets on its stall. Thistle's owner BIL International confirmed only the number of hotels; it was left to The Times newspaper to put names to them. London is once again to be the focus; six of the properties, sharing a total of 1,182 rooms, are there: the Bloomsbury Park, the Thistle City Barbican, the Thistle Euston, the Thistle Hyde Park, the Thistle Piccadilly and the Thistle Trafalgar Square. The seventh hotel is the 143-room Thistle Edinburgh in Scotland. Thistle Hotels will retain long-term management contracts on all seven hotels, which The Times reports could together fetch as much as £200 million.

Whitbread Wins The Race For Premier Lodge Return to Headlines
Whitbread has laid to rest all the speculation of recent weeks by announcing that it has indeed won the race to acquire the Premier Lodge chain of budget hotels. Rumours that Spirit Group would be selling the chain surfaced in the press almost as soon as the pub company had completed the purchase of Scottish & Newcastle's Managed Retail business in November 2003. Whitbread has ultimately triumphed in the race that ensued and will pay £505 million for 132 hotels, a total of 9,133 rooms, and a further nine Premier Lodge properties (929 rooms) currently under development. The properties will be integrated with the Travel Inn chain to form the Premier Travel Inn brand, which with its 29,141 rooms will be the undisputed champion of the UK budget hotel market. Whitbread might perhaps dine out on its success at one of the 19 pub restaurants it has also acquired from Spirit for an extra £31.2 million. The restaurants, some of which adjoin a Premier Lodge, will be rebranded as Brewers Fayre by March 2005.

A Spanish Odyssey Return to Headlines
Spanish real estate firm Ulyses Hotels will start work in the next few months on the construction of a 90-room hotel for its compatriot Barceló Hotels & Resorts. The four-star property in Torre Pacheco in the southeast of Spain will cost a reported €8 million to build and is due to open in 2006. Barceló Hotels has had dual cause for celebration this week as it witnessed too the opening of the four-star Barceló Coruña in the northwestern city of La Coruña. The 160-room property, which cost a reported €21 million to build, is the third hotel to result from an agreement struck in February between Barceló and construction firm Fadesa that will endeavour to have 5,000 rooms open within five to seven years. If the babble of builders' voices in Barcelona is more melodic than usual, then that could be due to the musical theme of the latest hotels to come to the city. High Tech Hoteles is to invest a reported €6 million in the 80-room Petit Palace Ópera Garden, and the management of the El Palau de la Música Catalana concert hall want to convert part of the nearby La Salle college into an 85-room, four-star hotel.

Mövenpick's Paris Dream Is Now Reality Return to Headlines
Disneyland Resort Paris is the setting for Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts' first property in France: the 400-room, four-star Mövenpick Dream Castle Hotel. The Swiss chain signed a lease agreement on the property in June last year with Thomas Cook AG and Dertour. Meanwhile, in neighbouring Italy Orient-Express Hotels (OEH) has a song in its heart after revealing that the 54-room Hotel Caruso will open in June 2005 as its fourth hotel in the country. OEH has spent US$30 million and five years renovating the Hotel Caruso Belvedere in Ravello. Over the border in Austria, guests wanting to stay at the Hotel im Palais Schwarzenberg in Vienna will have to mark time for a year from 2006 as builders waltz in to start renovation work that will take the room count from 44 to 86.

Hotels In Kiev Could Score 'Douze Points' Return to Headlines
The thought of hosting next year's Eurovision Song Contest would seem to have driven the authorities in the Ukrainian capital Kiev into a frenzy of renovation work. Reports from the country suggest that the city administration is to spend nearly US$12 million on the project, which could involve up to 60 hotels. Reports from neighbouring Russia meanwhile state that native carrier Transaero Airlines is to build three hotels of between 200 and 250 rooms each: two in St Petersburg and one in Moscow.

Boutique Call For Bellinter House In Ireland Return to Headlines
Dublin-based bar and restaurant owners Jay Bourke, Eoin Foyle and John Reynolds paid a reported €3 million earlier this year for Bellinter House near Navan, Co. Meath, and the trio now reportedly have plans to turn the eighteenth century mansion into a 40-bed boutique hotel. The men may be aware that construction work could be imminent back in the Irish capital, where Obarac has applied for permission to extend the 82-room Trinity Capital Hotel. The company wants to convert four adjoining buildings that it acquired earlier this year into 164 bedrooms. Development work could be afoot too across the border in Northern Ireland, where the Mooney Hotel Group is reportedly keen to redevelop the 75-room Best Western Wellington Park Hotel in Belfast as a new 144-room hotel and an aparthotel of more than 100 units. If the company can obtain planning permission then work on the £30 million project is set to start in 2007.

CHE Group Places Shares To Aid Development Return to Headlines
Choice Hotels Europe (CHE Group) is to place some 14 million new shares in order to raise a net amount of £5.06 million. The company will then spend the money on three projects designed to further its development: £1.7 million on the acquisition of the leasehold on another six Sleep Inn hotels, and £2.3 million on the installation of air conditioning in 1,000 bedrooms in Quality-branded hotels. CHE Group would spend the remaining £1.0 million on the renovation of meeting and conference facilities at six Quality hotels.

Starwood Pleased With Its Second Quarter Return to Headlines
Starwood Hotels & Resorts is confident that the EBITDA growth it is presently experiencing can be repeated next year. Results for the company's second-quarter ending 30 June showed total EBITDA up 25.5% on the previous year's comparable, at US$310 million, and RevPAR at comparable owned hotels worldwide up 17.1%. Starwood celebrated the results by committing itself to a nunnery in central Portugal. A fifteenth century convent in the city of Évora is currently being converted into the 59-room Hotel Convento do Espinheiro, which, thanks to an agreement signed between Starwood and Sociedade de Promoçao de Projectos Turisticos e Hoteleiros, will become part of The Luxury Collection in mid 2005.

Tidings Of Comfort Inn Joy Return to Headlines
Almost three years after he purchased the Comfort Inn Boston from Choice Hotels Europe Anwar Chaudhary has sold the property on. An unnamed private buyer from London paid an undisclosed sum for the 55-room hotel in southeast Lincolnshire which had an asking price of £1 million. A sale has completed too in nearby Derbyshire, where GSC Property Holdings was able to finalise the purchase of the 100-room Days Hotel Derby for a reported £5.7 million. Elsewhere, Manchester-based Lowry Renaissance wants to incorporate 16 up-market hotel rooms in the block of luxury apartments it is creating from its redevelopment of Titanic Mill in Linthwaite, on the outskirts of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire.

Cyprus Proves A Popular Destination This Summer Return to Headlines
A report in the Turkish press notes that Hamoğlu Holding has plans to invest up to US$40 million in the construction of a hotel in the resort of Girne in northern Cyprus. The same region has also drawn T&T Turizm, a joint venture formed between Akfen Holding and Güneş Grup, and it has already begun work on an 800-bed hotel costing some US$20 million to US$25 million that will open in Kervansaray in 2005. Meanwhile, Turkey itself has welcomed the Sisus Hotel to the Çesme peninsula. The 51-room property is part of the Great Hotels of the World collection.

It's Game On In Morocco For Kerzner Return to Headlines
Kerzner International has teamed up with Société Maroc Emirates Arabs Unis de Developpement and Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion to build a casino resort in Morocco. The resort, which is expected to cost US$230 million, will start to rise in 2005 on a greenfield site near El Jadida on the country's Atlantic seaboard and will include a 600-room hotel. As part of the agreement signed with the Moroccan government, the joint venture, of which Kerzner will own 50%, will be granted exclusive rights to conduct gaming operations within a 100-mile radius of the city of Casablanca, which is some 50 miles northeast of the site.

NH Hoteles Is Strong In The First Half Return to Headlines
NH Hoteles' drive to cut costs would appear to have paid off, judging by its results for the six months to 30 June. The Spanish chain sensed that recovery was on the way after seeing EBITDA for the period climb 34.6% to €94.7 million and total revenue finish 2.4% higher than the previous year's comparable, at approximately €469 million. NH Hoteles noted that its businesses in central Europe had performed particularly well; revenues from Germany rose by 12% and EBITDA returns from Switzerland, Austria and Hungary were 53.3% up on the comparable period of a year ago.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 15/07/04-22/07/04

InterContinental Hotels Group - The share price rose on the news of Starwood's strong performance in the second quarter.

Choice Hotels Europe - The company noted that revenue had continued to grow steadily in the second quarter.

Accor - UBS raised its target price from €40 to €41, feeling that Accor was the best placed of its peers to take advantage of the expected upturn in the European hotel sector.