Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 28 May 2004
Barceló Takes Five From Grubarges
Trefick Much Lighter At Queens Moat Houses
Mövenpick Serves Up A Third Hotel In The Emirates
InterContinental Hotels Group Has A Good First Quarter
Puma's Offspring To Sink Its Teeth Into UK Hotels
Keeping Abreast Of Developments In Turkey
World Wildlife Fund Befriends Portuguese Pelicano
Orient-Express Hotels Now Afloat In France
Healthspan Prescribes Itself A Diet Of Channel Island Hotels
Judge Kett's Summing-Up Of The Middle East Hotel Awards
Swing Into Summer

Barceló Takes Five From Grubarges
The three partners in the Grubarges Inversion Hotelera joint venture – FCC, Barceló Corporación Empresarial and Spanish bank BBVA – announced at the start of this year that the venture, which had been running since August 1998, was to be dissolved. The remaining six Spanish hotels in the portfolio together with 18 properties in the USA were thus put up for sale. Now a buyer for five of the hotels in Spain has been found, and who should it be but none other than Barceló itself. The five hotels, which total 1,145 rooms, cost Barceló a reported €93 million and are doubly familiar to the company as it manages all of them. There are two five-star hotels: the Renacimiento in Seville, and La Bobadilla in Granada; one four-star hotel: the V Centenario in Cáceres; and two with three stars in the Canary Islands: the La Galea in Lanzarote and the Varadero aparthotel in Tenerife.

Trefick Much Lighter At Queens Moat Houses Return to Headlines
Entrepreneur Jack Petchey's investment vehicle Trefick has sold for an undisclosed sum a 19.0% stake in Queens Moat Houses (QMH) to W2001 Britannia, a consortium comprising the Goldman Sachs Group, Whitehall Street Real Estate Fund and Westmont Hospitality Group. As a result of the transaction Trefick is left with a 6% stake, while W2001 sees its holding grow to 29.6% as Westmont already holds a 10% stake. The newcomers have arrived just in time to wave goodbye to the Sloane Square Moat House in London. A consortium of private investors calling itself Sloane Square Hotel Limited is ready to pay £12.35 million in cash for the 105-room hotel, and QMH expects to complete the sale on or before 30 June. The property had a book value of £10.5 million as at 29 December 2002. Shareholders' cheeks will anyway already be stained with tears after QMH admitted that no matter what the outcome of its ongoing strategic review it was likely that shareholders would be left empty-handed.

Mövenpick Serves Up A Third Hotel In The Emirates Return to Headlines
Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts will have a third hotel open in the United Arab Emirates by the end of 2006 after signing a contract to manage a property that is to be built in the emirate of Ajman. The 220-room hotel is owned by Sheikh Al Nahyan, and will be opening at a similar time to the Mövenpick Pearl Hotel Dubai. The emirate of Dubai is a likely destination for the Elaf Group of Saudi Arabia, which is said to want to spend the millions of dollars at its disposal on new hotels both there and throughout the Middle East region.

InterContinental Hotels Group Has A Good First Quarter Return to Headlines
Encouraged by the results posted by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) for its first-quarter ending 31 March, company Chief Executive Richard North promised that IHG's concentration on improving business efficiency would not waver. He highlighted the UK and the USA as two countries where IHG's franchise and management business would find further growth, and, happily, it is these two territories where the company has seen encouraging signs of recovery. The first quarter ended with RevPAR among owned and leased Holiday Inn properties in London 17.3% ahead of last year's comparable, and RevPAR across all brands in the Americas region up by 5.5%. IHG's global hotel portfolio contributed an operating profit of £44 million and turnover of £348 million to the group pot, enabling the company to post a 6.1% increase in total turnover, to £536 million, and a 45.9% rise in operating profit, to £54 million. However, the hotels division should not look too smug: the company noted that another slice of the portfolio, with a net book value of more than £500 million, would be up for sale shortly.

Puma's Offspring To Sink Its Teeth Into UK Hotels Return to Headlines
The life of the Puma Property Fund is one characterised by the killings it makes in shopping centres and other properties in the UK provinces. The investment firms behind Puma – Shore Capital and Dawnay Day – would like to repeat that success in the same marketplace but this time with hotels. A report by The Times' Dominic Walsh notes that the pair would like to form a new fund, which, according to the report, already has the Paramount Hotel Group in its sights. Private equity firm Alchemy Partners announced last October that it was to sell its 90% stake in the company, which has 13 hotels in the UK.

Keeping Abreast Of Developments In Turkey Return to Headlines
The Marmara Group has a brace of openings to look forward to in its native Turkey this summer. The city of Istanbul will be the focus on both occasions: in July, when a 33-room aparthotel arrives, and in August when the 192-room, four-star Marmara Pera is unveiled; the company acquired the latter property late last year from the Turkish army pension fund OYAK for a reported US$19 million. Southern Turkey, however, does not have to wait until summer to celebrate a new arrival: the Tekirova region of Kemer is jubilant now, after the opening of the 453-room, five-star Queen's Park Resort. And the bunting can come out again in April 2005 when the town of Beldibi welcomes the 1,161-room Port Royal hotel, which is being built by native construction firm Cengiz Insaat for a reported cost of US$100 million.

World Wildlife Fund Befriends Portuguese Pelicano Return to Headlines
Portuguese real estate company Pelicano is to assist the World Wildlife Fund in its sustainable tourism project in Sesimbra, southern Portugal, by investing a reported €1 billion. Elsewhere in the country, Hoteis Real is to add three hotels to its portfolio of five with an investment of a reported €60 million. A hotel in Carcavelos is set to open in 2005, with one in nearby Cascais and in Olhao on the Algarve due to follow in 2006. Across the border in Spain, Hoteles Elba's diary entry for 15 June should read 'opened the 204-room, five-star Gran Hotel Elba Estepona & Spa today.'

Orient-Express Hotels Now Afloat In France Return to Headlines
Orient-Express Hotels (OEH), whose sea legs are already admired by those who cruise the Ayeyarwady in Myanmar aboard the Road to Mandalay, has taken the helm at Afloat in France. For an initial down payment of US$3 million the company takes ownership of five luxury barges that ply the canals of the Burgundy and Provence regions of France. OEH may use the acquisition as a launchpad for further investment in this sector of the cruise business. Elsewhere in France, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group will arrive in Paris this June to take the managerial reins at the Hôtel Royal Monceau. The 203-room property will be renamed the Royal Monceau Mandarin Oriental, Paris after it has enjoyed a thorough renovation later this year.

Healthspan Prescribes Itself A Diet Of Channel Island Hotels Return to Headlines
Guernsey-based Healthspan is reportedly interested in nourishing the hotel market in the Channel Islands as an adjunct to its usual business of supplying dietary supplements. A subsidiary, Healthspan Leisure, is already set to renovate the Seaview Hotel on Alderney and turn it into a 30-room boutique property. The company also wants to restore the glow to two hotels on Guernsey, the 42-room Fermain Hotel and the 37-room La Favorita. According to its Managing Director Derek Coates, Healthspan is keen to purchase other hotels in the Channel Islands.

Judge Kett's Summing-Up Of The Middle East Hotel Awards Return to Headlines
Russell Kett, the Managing Director of HVS International's London office, was chairman of the judging panel for the recent DEPA Middle East Hotel Awards. The awards were presented at a glittering ceremony held at the recently opened Grand Hyatt hotel in Dubai. In congratulating the winners, Russell commented that hotels in the Middle East have led and set standards, rather than merely follow the trends of others; there were incredible examples shown of new visitation having been not only attracted but also sustained, and examples of new destinations and new products being developed. A total of 15 awards were presented, but the overall winner of Middle East Hotel of the Year was the One&Only Royal Mirage, Dubai. Other awards were presented to the Fairmont Hotel, Dubai (best business hotel); the Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai (best new hotel); the Ritz-Carlton, Doha (best conference and convention facilities); and The Chedi, Muscat (outstanding architectural design). The founders of Rotana Hotels & Resorts, HE Nasser Al Nowais and Selim El Zyr, were presented with the Hotel Innovator of the Year award. Full details of the winners may be found by visiting www.itp.net/events/DEPA click here.

Swing Into Summer Return to Headlines
Should you happen to have been booked into a luxury retreat in the Leicestershire countryside, then check the mirrors: they might be two way. Oh, and while you're about it perhaps check the ones on the ceiling too. And if your fellow guests show a propensity to congregate in one bedroom despite another nine bedrooms being available then it might be time to step outside to check the hotel's name. If the sign reads Liberation then you can either flee, or, if you are especially liberal, return and enjoy your stay in what is said to be the UK's first up-market hotel for swingers. The property is the idea of Neil Armstrong-Nash and his wife Lianne, who hope that it will improve the image of swinging.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 20/05/04-27/05/04

Hilton Group - Analysts warmed to last week's positive trading update. Morgan Stanley upgraded its rating from 'Equal-Weight' to 'Overweight', and Deutsche Bank raised Hilton's target price to 265p.

Whitbread - UBS raised its target price from 875p to 1,064p in anticipation of the sale of certain assets and a return of the cash raised to shareholders.

InterContinental Hotels Group - The markets responded well to the company's strong first-quarter results. Smith Barney raised its rating on the stock from 'Hold' to 'Buy'.