Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 21 May 2004
Whitbread To Exit The Mid-Market Sector Through Courtyard
Mövenpick Returns To Frankfurt
Caesar Inspires Derby Hotels To Further Conquest
First Quarter Chimes Brightly For Sol Meliá
Hawthorn Provides Shelter With Opportunities In Nigeria
Airport Park Inn
Projects Take Wing In Turkey
Half A Million Rooms For Marriott International
Beecham Conducts Quest To Shoreditch (Sandwiches Provided)
Potential Shanghai Surprise For Bratislava
Niche Hotels Finds A Property In Newcastle
Hilton Group's Betting Division Raises The Profits

Whitbread To Exit The Mid-Market Sector Through Courtyard
Alongside the announcement earlier this month of its full-year results Whitbread mentioned that it had been reviewing its property assets. Then last week the company revealed the initial outcome of the proceedings: it intends exiting the mid-market sector by selling the UK's entire stock of 11 Courtyard by Marriott hotels. Whitbread said that the portfolio, which has 867 rooms in total, had already attracted interest from a number of parties, and Marriott International's Ed Fuller was pleased to note that every one of the potential purchasers was keen to develop the Courtyard brand in the UK.

Mövenpick Returns To Frankfurt Return to Headlines
Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts has chosen to make a second visit to the city of Frankfurt to establish what will be its fourteenth hotel in Germany. The Swiss chain has signed a lease agreement with Vivico Real Estate that will see a 288-room, four-star hotel open in the Europa Quarter of the city in June 2006. The property, which should find itself rubbing shoulders with the city's upcoming Urban Entertainment Centre, will be a companion for the 219-room Mövenpick Hotel Frankfurt-Oberursel.

Caesar Inspires Derby Hotels To Further Conquest Return to Headlines
Its recent €30 million acquisition of The Caesar hotel in London seems to have whetted Derby Hotels' appetite for further adventures beyond the borders of its native Spain. According to a report in the Spanish press, the company's next target is Paris, with Berlin, Prague and Milan also said to be on the list. For its latest opening, NH Hoteles has needed to travel no further than the southeast coast of Spain to unveil the €15 million NH Cartagena. NH Hoteles has filed the 100-room property under the category marked 'Collection', which the company reserves for hotels occupying grand or historic buildings. The destiny of NH Hoteles' compatriot La Jaría lies away to the south in the Andalusia region, where it is to build the 62-room, four-star Hotel Hacienda Cortijo de la Luz in the town of Otura.

First Quarter Chimes Brightly For Sol Meliá Return to Headlines
Sol Meliá has made a bright start to 2004 as its results for the first quarter issued last week prove. Thanks in large part to its operations in Latin America and the Caribbean, the company saw EBITDA rise 29.6% on the previous year's comparable to €52.1 million and revenue for the three months to March increase by 9.3% to €228.6 million. The company's owned and leased hotels in its European Resort Division posted a 3.4% increase in RevPAR, to €29.0, while their counterparts in the European City Division managed an increase of 0.8%, to €48.9.

Hawthorn Provides Shelter With Opportunities In Nigeria Return to Headlines
US Franchise Systems has let its Hawthorn Suites brand roam abroad for a third time, and on this occasion Nigeria is the destination. Shelter Suites, which is based in the west African country, has signed a master franchise agreement that will allow it to introduce at least 12 of the extended stay properties initially. The first of these will be a 108-suite hotel, which is set to open in the capital Abuja in spring 2005. The northeast of the African continent has called to Hilton International, which has answered Egypt by signing two management agreements. Tiba Touristic & Real Estate Investors it was who flourished the contract on the Hilton Ain Sokhna La Vista, a US$20 million hotel of 150 rooms that will open in summer 2006. Also keen for an autograph was Arabic Real Estate for Touristic Hotel Construction, which has the keys to the US$150 million Hilton Heliopolis; this 485-room hotel in Cairo is due to open in early 2007. Spanish firm Hurakan's thoughts are said to be further east: in Iran. The company is to build an entertainment complex featuring five hotels in the northwestern city of Tabriz.

Airport Park Inn Return to Headlines
The Park Inn brand has arrived in the UK, and where better to enter the country than at Heathrow. Rezidor SAS Hospitality has converted the former Le Meridien Excelsior – one of the 11 hotels that the Royal Bank of Scotland took into its custody after Le Meridien hit financial difficulties – into the 880-room Park Inn Heathrow, and will spend £10 million on the property over the next two years. Since securing the master franchise on Park Inn for the EMEA region in 2002, Rezidor SAS Hospitality has opened 35 hotels with the brand, and expects to take the total to 75 by the end of this year.

Projects Take Wing In Turkey Return to Headlines
Macedonian businessman Sami Mustafi is reportedly planning to invest US$29 million in the construction of a 1,923-bed holiday village in the southern Turkish resort of Antalya. Elsewhere in Turkey, native company Ihlas Holding has opened a 65-room, three-star spa hotel in the northwestern town of Kuzuluk, while World of Wonders (WOW) has added two new five-star hotels in Antalya to its portfolio: the 638-room Kiris Club and the 909-room World Palace. WOW's parent, the MNG Group, spent a total of a reported US$13 million on renovation work at both properties.

Half A Million Rooms For Marriott International Return to Headlines
When the London Marriott West India Quay opens at Canary Wharf on 1 June its 301 rooms will take Marriott International's global guest room count past the 500,000 mark. The company wants to add another 95,000 rooms to the total over the next three years, and Ireland and Russia will both help to illuminate more bulbs on the totaliser. The 126-room Johnstown House Hotel & Spa in the Irish town of Enfield, Co. Meath, is to take the Marriott brand, and Russia's contribution is the 102 rooms of the Renaissance St Petersburg Baltic Hotel, which recently became Marriott International's sixth hotel in the country. Were the company interested in nudging up the total still further it could also add the 58 rooms of Bulgari Hotels & Resorts' long-awaited first property, which has at last opened its doors in the northern Italian city of Milan.

Beecham Conducts Quest To Shoreditch (Sandwiches Provided) Return to Headlines
Venture capitalist Bridges Community Ventures, which has contributed a reported £1.5 million, is just one of the many private investors who have helped Quest Hotels raise £18.4 million for a new hotel in the Shoreditch area of London. Quest Hotels, which is headed by Sinclair Beecham, the co-founder of the Pret A Manger sandwich shops, is to start work this autumn on a 204-room property that should be open in March 2006. Up in the West Midlands, two local firms – St Modwen Developments and Pritchard Holdings – are drawing up plans for a 40-room hotel in the Staffordshire town of Hednesford. Further north, in South Yorkshire, there is an opportunity for someone to build a limited service hotel at Chase Park in Doncaster. Across the border in south Wales, Gryphon Leisure would like to build a 100-room, five-star spa hotel in Carmarthen at a cost of a reported £14 million.

Potential Shanghai Surprise For Bratislava Return to Headlines
Reports suggest that businessmen from the Chinese city of Shanghai are interested in building a hotel in the Slovak capital Bratislava some time within the next two years. Other cities in eastern Europe, meanwhile, have stars in their eyes – five stars to be precise. Sofia in Bulgaria has welcomed the 122-room Grand Hotel Sofia, while Banja Luka in Bosnia-Herzegovina is enjoying the 24-room Atina hotel, which comes courtesy of Atina Trade.

Niche Hotels Finds A Property In Newcastle Return to Headlines
Niche Hotels has paid a reported £3.8 million to the city council for a Grade II listed former bank building in Newcastle upon Tyne. The company will now spend a further £2.2 million on refurbishment work to turn the property into a 49-room hotel and have it open by November. Also under new ownership is the Old Bell Hotel in the Wiltshire town of Malmesbury; it has exchanged one set of private owners for another in a deal worth close on £3 million. The 31-room, three-star property is said to be England's oldest purpose-built hotel, dating as it does from the twelfth century. A hotel wanting a new owner is the four-star Arthouse Hotel in Glasgow; the 65-room property, currently in receivership, has so far attracted more than 20 interested parties. And a mansion that has the potential to become a country house hotel is to be found near the Welsh resort of Aberystwyth. The Grade I listed Nanteos House is on the market with a guide price of £1.25 million.

Hilton Group's Betting Division Raises The Profits Return to Headlines
Hilton Group's Betting and Gaming Division was the force behind a 106% rise in profits for the four months to 30 April 2004. In its trading statement the company noted that the Hotels Division was beginning to see signs of recovery. RevPAR across the entire portfolio was 8.2% ahead of the previous year's comparable, with London leading the charge in the UK market: RevPAR here was 17.0% ahead, compared with 3.0% for the UK provinces. The Europe and Africa region saw RevPAR running 8.9% ahead on the previous year.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Two Weeks 06/05/04-20/05/04

Hilton Group - Merrill Lynch was unimpressed by the group's trading update; it kept a 'Neutral' rating on the stock, feeling that Ladbrokes' performance is now as good as it will get.

Sol Meliá - Deutsche Bank retained its 'Sell' rating – it feels that the company faces certain structural issues.

NH Hoteles - The share price has fallen in a general selling of travel-related stocks on the Spanish market.