Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 26 March 2004
Courtyard Courts The UK
Berlin: A Delight For A Fish-Fancying Architect
Sun, Sun, Sun Here It Comes
De Vere Downs Guinness Peat
Ramada and Radisson SAS Progress In Ireland
The Elite Of Park Avenue
Curtain Comes Down On The Drury Lane Moat House
Eastern Europe Awaits A Palace And An Inn
Gers And Blades Cut The Cards
Four Seasons In Provence
Doha Summit Gathers CEOs in May

Courtyard Courts The UK
Marriott International, through its subsidiary Marriott Hotels International BV, has chosen fellow American and trusted operator Harrell Hospitality Group (HHG) to assist it in the further development in the UK of the Courtyard by Marriott brand. HHG's London-based subsidiary Harrell Hotels (Europe) is already conducting due diligence on a number of sites in key cities with the aim of adding between 15 and 20 Courtyard hotels to the current stock of 11 over the next four years. In addition to seeking out sites and managing the hotels, Harrell will be looking for joint venture partners willing to support the roll-out.

Berlin: A Delight For A Fish-Fancying Architect Return to Headlines
Aesthetes who head for Berlin are in for a treat, as there are two new hotels to admire this month in the German capital. Those with maps more than three years out of date should have little trouble locating the Radisson SAS Hotel for it is on the site of its predecessor. The eye-catching feature of the 427-room hotel, which stands on Deutsche Immobilien Fonds AG's DomAquarée complex, is the 25-metre tall AquaDom aquarium in the lobby. Guests who prefer the sleek lines of a building to those of a tropical fish yet retain a liking for the same vivid colours should instead seek out the Mövenpick Hotel, which lies within the listed walls of the former Siemenshöfe building. The 243-room, de luxe four-star property is Mövenpick's first hotel in Berlin and its thirteenth in Germany.

Sun, Sun, Sun Here It Comes Return to Headlines
Sun International is to reinforce its position as the leading operator of luxury hotels in southern Africa, while simultaneously setting out on a new life in the Middle East, by developing three new resorts. With financial backing from its parent, the Kersaf Investment Group, Sun will team up with IFA Hotels & Resorts on all three projects: a hotel and timeshare complex – to be managed under the Sun International Vacation Club brand – at the Zimbali Coastal Resort north of the city of Durban, South Africa; the 200-room Zanzibar Sun Hotel & Resort on the island of Zanzibar off Africa's east coast; and the luxury 1,000-room Palm Sun Hotel & Resort, costing a projected US$200 million, on The Palm Jumeirah half of the Palm Island development off the coast of Dubai. Elsewhere in the United Arab Emirates, Kempinski Hotels & Resorts' 390-room hotel and conference centre in Abu Dhabi now has its official name: Bani Yas Palace. The beachfront venue should be completed later this year.

De Vere Downs Guinness Peat Return to Headlines
De Vere Group's initial response to GPG (UK) Holdings' attempt to take a stake of some 25% was that the offer of 415p a share was 'unsolicited and unwelcome'. Given that De Vere after further consideration thought 'derisory' more descriptive, it may be gathered that the £118 million bid by GPG, a wholly owned subsidiary of Guinness Peat Group, to take its total holding in De Vere to some 35% is likely to prove unsuccessful. GPG is no stranger to causing unrest in the boardroom; three years ago it tried to engineer the demerger of the Village Hotels division. In March 2004 GPG is hoping that a successful bid will allow it to open the boardroom door to admit two of its directors, who could then bring about GPG's desired aim: the sale of the De Vere Hotels division and the return of some of the proceeds to shareholders. The response of De Vere Group's board was that there were opportunities to improve the operational performance of the portfolio, but where this could not be achieved then that asset would indeed be sold. The board pointed out by that two De Vere-branded hotels had been put up for sale at the start of the year.

Ramada and Radisson SAS Progress In Ireland Return to Headlines
In January Ramada International announced that it had handed Crawford Investments its master franchise in Ireland and with it a brief to seek out suitable new and existing properties. Two months on and Crawford has found the first property desirous of raising the Ramada flag: the Kilmurry Lodge Hotel in Limerick. The privately owned 43-room property will be managed by Crawford's own Kayjay Hotels & Resorts. Ireland finds favour this month with Rezidor SAS Hospitality too; it has chosen the northeastern town of Dundalk as the latest stop in the travels of the Park Inn brand – an 84-room hotel will open there in December – and revealed that a 122-room Radisson SAS hotel will open in early 2005 at the Little Island Business Park in Cork.

The Elite Of Park Avenue Return to Headlines
Elite Hotels will add an eighteenth hotel to its portfolio in its native Sweden on 1 January 2005 when it takes up a 20-year operating lease on the Park Avenue Hotel in the city of Gothenburg. The 318-room property, which is owned by Pandox and currently operated by Radisson SAS Hotels, will enjoy a €10.8 million refurbishment once Elite takes charge. Meanwhile, across the Baltic in Estonia, Meriton Hotels is only eight months old yet it already has a vocabulary of three hotels. The latest addition is the 41-room Meriton Old Town Hotel, which has opened in the capital Tallinn.

Curtain Comes Down On The Drury Lane Moat House Return to Headlines
Queens Moat Houses (QMH) has agreed to sell the 163-room Drury Lane Moat House in London to TLLC Group Holdings for £11 million in cash. The prospective purchaser is an investment vehicle for Permira, so it is possible that the hotel, which as at 29 December 2002 had a book value of £14.9 million, could be converted into a Travelodge. QMH expects the transaction to complete on or around 29 March. England's second city, meanwhile, has seen a sale safely through to completion; entrepreneur Sid Taylor has sold the 47-room Edgbaston Palace Hotel in Birmingham to an anonymous hotelier for an undisclosed sum. Attention in nearby Coventry is focussed on a four-star hotel and a budget hotel that could be built as part of a mixed-use development. Whitbread's immediate interest is in people rather than places; it has named Patrick Dempsey as the successor to Alan Parker as Managing Director of the Whitbread Hotel Company. Mr Dempsey, formerly CEO of Macdonald Hotels, will take charge of the Marriott hotel portfolio.

Eastern Europe Awaits A Palace And An Inn Return to Headlines
Boscolo Hotels has reportedly set early 2005 as the target for the long-awaited opening of the New York Palace-Boscolo Luxury Hotel in the Hungarian capital Budapest. The 100-room property has so far cost some €31 million to renovate, and additional funds will be invested in the addition of another 80 rooms by the end of 2005. Another eastern European capital awaiting developments is Sofia in Bulgaria, which should see Germany's Lindner Group begin work this May on a 120-room Holiday Inn hotel as part of the Business Park Sofia project. Across in Austria, Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank is to finance Falkensteiner Group's building of the 160-room, four-star Hotel Carinzia in the southern town of Tröpolach. Work on the €23.2 million project is due to start this summer, with a completion target of no later than winter 2005. And if you appreciate a long rest in the bar, then you should beat a path for the Czech Republic, where the music-themed Aria Hotel has opened in Prague. The 52-room property, which is owned by HK Hotels, is the capital's first five-star boutique hotel.

Gers And Blades Cut The Cards Return to Headlines
When football clubs Glasgow Rangers and Sheffield United come to pick someone who can build them a hotel and casino, then there is only one name on the team-sheet: Las Vegas Sands. Rangers' Ibrox Stadium would welcome a 140-room hotel and a casino as part of the proposed £120 million Ibrox Community Sporting and Leisure Campus. If the club can secure planning permission, then the project could be finished by autumn 2007. The English team has signed up the American company to build a 120-room hotel and casino behind the Laver Stand at the Sheffield club's Bramall Lane ground. Work on the £80 million scheme could start next year.

Four Seasons In Provence Return to Headlines
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has unveiled the Four Seasons Resort Provence at Terre Blanche as its second property in France. The 115-suite resort nestles on a hillside near the village of Tourrettes in the south of the country. Across in Spain, Sol Meliá has opened the 126-room, four-star Tryp San Lázaro, its third hotel in the northwestern city of Santiago de Compostela. Although there will be no age restriction on guests staying there, you should venture to the Contiki Resort Mykonos only if you are between 18 and 35. Travel company Contiki will be opening the 148-room, four-star resort on the Greek island of Mykonos on 15 May.

Doha Summit Gathers CEOs in May Return to Headlines
What can you expect from the fourth Global Travel & Tourism Summit in Doha this May? Well, as the event is the premier date in the travel and tourism calendar, then Chairmen and CEOs from leading companies in the sector of course: names such as Alan Parker, Brian Wallace and Dr Michael Frenzel. But in addition this conference will draw together more than 100 journalists and many government officials. So if your own calendar is blank from 1 to 3 May then why not join the gathering? For further details visit the website at www.globaltraveltourism.com click here.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 18/03/04-25/03/04

De Vere Group - GPG's latest intrigues sent the share price soaring.

Whitbread - Panmure Gordon has a 'Hold' rating on the stock.

Sol Meliá - The share price recovered in the aftermath of the Madrid terrorist attacks as Spanish stocks responded to a strong US market.