Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 8 October 2004
Hunter Said To Be On The Travelodge Trail
NH Hoteles: Eager In Venice, More Patient In Amsterdam
Unusually Tall Rose To Bloom In Dubai
Reval And Manutent Set Up Camp In St Petersburg
Hilton's First Italian Franchise
Kohler Taps The Scottish Market
If It's A First Courtyard, This Must Be Belgium
Point To Istanbul And Smile With Joy
Pugadar Captures Bunratty Hotel
Whitbread Signs A European Cup Winner

Hotel du Vin (HDV) has six designer properties in the UK and to these have been attributed the qualities of substance and wit. This heady combination proved sufficiently seductive to property company Marylebone Warwick Balfour (MWB), which won the object of its desire by paying £66.4 million in cash. 'A fantastic marriage', beamed MWB's Chief Executive Richard Balfour-Lynn, no doubt thinking how much delight his company's Malmaison chain would take in having a new companion with which it has so much in common. The future happiness of the two chains will be overseen by Malmaison's Chief Executive Robert B. Cook, with Robin Hutson and Gerard Basset, Hotel du Vin's parents, finally letting go of the chain they conceived in Winchester ten years ago. Malmaison will be continue to seek hotels of between 60 and 120 rooms in larger cities, and HDV will spend its time in cathedral and university towns looking for properties of between 30 and 60 rooms.

Hunter Said To Be On The Travelodge Trail Return to Headlines
In July Travelodge expressed a desire to raise at least £400 million through a sale and leaseback involving 136 of its hotels on the UK mainland. This week The Times reported that Tom Hunter of West Coast Capital and the property entrepreneur Nick Leslau could be the men to fulfil that desire. If a sale is concluded, then Travelodge intends taking a lease of between 25 and 35 years on each property and using the money raised to reduce its debt and speed up the roll-out of a portfolio that already numbers more than 240 hotels.

NH Hoteles: Eager In Venice, More Patient In Amsterdam Return to Headlines
NH Hoteles has realised a long-cherished dream by setting foot on Italian soil for the first time. The Spanish company has invested a reported €10.5 million in a long-term lease on the NH Laguna Palace in Venice. The 384-room property was built and most recently managed by local property firm Danieli. In contrast, NH Hoteles' 11 hotels make it a readily recognisable face in the Dutch city of Amsterdam. The company wants to extend that familiarity by managing the 200-room AMC Zotel in the grounds of the Academic Medical Centre (AMC). Builders have made an appointment to come in and start work next year and the prognosis is that the hotel should be ready in 2007.

Unusually Tall Rose To Bloom In Dubai Return to Headlines
The compilers of the 2006 edition of the Guinness Book of Records might well for the moment leave blank the entry beneath the heading 'World's Tallest All-Suite Hotel' in anticipation of that record being claimed by Rotana Hotels. The Arabian Construction Co. will be calling for its special long ladders as it prepares to embark on the task of raising all 333 metres of the 480-suite Rose Rotana Suites in Dubai. Elsewhere in the region, the summer of 2006 is the dateline that Accor has pencilled into its diary for the opening, perhaps under the Sofitel brand, of a hotel on a mixed-use development consisting of seven towers in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca. Accor signed the management agreement with Kuwait-based developer Munshaat Real Estate. The tower at Cairo International Airport in Egypt might be about to guide in the Egyptian Holding Company for Airports and Air Navigation, which reportedly has plans to join up with subsidiaries of EgyptAir. The consortium's purpose would be to build a 400-room, five-star hotel costing a reported US$48.2 million alongside the airport's new third terminal, which is itself due to be finished in 2007.

Reval And Manutent Set Up Camp In St Petersburg Return to Headlines
Reval Hotels, the leading hotel chain in the Baltic States, has for some time been casting wistful glances at the Russian city of St Petersburg and longing for the day when it might have a hotel there. The property developer Manutent, which worked on the Reval Hotel Central in the Estonian capital Tallinn, must have heard the sighs of its old friend. The Tallinn-based firm has shouldered its hod and with its other hand led Reval Hotels to Vassiljevsky Island in St Petersburg, where it will to begin work next year on a 200-room, four-star hotel that will cost €14 million and be open in mid 2006. Expansion into a new country is also reportedly on the mind of the French chain Akena, whose one-star and two-star hotels are well known in France and Belgium. Akena is said to be searching Hungary for franchise partners wishing to open hotels in the same two categories.

Hilton's First Italian Franchise Return to Headlines
Hilton International's fifth hotel in Italy will be the company's first Hilton franchise in that country. The honour goes to the 267-room Hilton Portorosa, which Euro Costruzioni is to build on the Patti Gulf in Sicily. The hotel is due to open at the end of 2005. The remainder of this week's action in Italy is to be found in and around Rome. The authorities in the Lazio region reportedly have plans to turn the Palazzo Orsini in the town of Licenza into a 20-bed hotel that would be the first in what could be a chain of environmentally friendly hotels. Meanwhile, Acqua Marcia Turismo has visited the capital to sign a preliminary contract to buy, for a reported €58 million, a four-star hotel currently being built by Tecno Costruzioni. The property will have some 200 rooms and is set to open in early 2007.

Kohler Taps The Scottish Market Return to Headlines
The Old Course Hotel Golf Resort & Spa in St Andrews on the east coast of Scotland should have no excuse from now on for not having the best-looking kitchens and bathrooms after Kohler Co. of Wisconsin moved in as the new owner. Kohler's expertise though is not confined solely to the U-bend or one chained to the sink; the company's Destination Kohler subsidiary owns two hotels and four championship golf courses in the USA. The 134-room Old Course Hotel is thus Kohler's first overseas venture in the hospitality sector, and the company needed to find a reported £35 million to take the property from Japan's Kosaido Corporation.

If It's A First Courtyard, This Must Be Belgium Return to Headlines
The next time you are asked to name something famous and Belgian it will be quite in order for you to reply the Courtyard by Marriott Brussels. The 191-room hotel is famous as it is the first to fly the Courtyard by Marriott flag in Belgium. Accor has visited the Austrian capital Vienna twice before with its Ibis brand, and the company completed a hat-trick of Ibis hotels at the start of October by opening the 94-room Ibis Wien Schönbrunnerstrasse. A third European capital celebrating a new arrival is Madrid in Spain, which has welcomed Hotusa Hoteles' 91-room, four-star Eurostars Zarzuela Park.

Point To Istanbul And Smile With Joy Return to Headlines
SRS-WorldHotels' collection now includes its first hotel in the Turkish city of Istanbul: the recently opened 141-room Point Hotel. Joy Hotels & Resorts' latest property – a 58-room boutique hotel – is to be found in the southwestern resort of Dalyan, while the wind has carried Anemon Hotels to the northwestern town of Eskişehir where the company has opened the 174-room, five-star Anemon Eskişehir. In nearby Greece, meanwhile, the port of Salonika is seeing five stars too: those adorning the newly opened 261-room Grand Hotel Palace.

Pugadar Captures Bunratty Hotel Return to Headlines
The Irish Times reports that the Fitzpatrick Hotel Group has sold the four-star Fitzpatrick Bunratty Hotel to Pugadar, a company owned by Irish property developer and financier Noel Connellan and his business partner Seán Lyne, for more than €13 million. The 115-room hotel in the village of Bunratty, Co. Clare, will see its new owners add a resort facility at a cost of a reported €10 million; planning permission had already been granted for 39 holiday homes on the 18-acre site.

Whitbread Signs A European Cup Winner Return to Headlines
Few hotel companies can claim to have had a European Cup winner in their line-up, but Hilton International could when it had Desmond Taljaard as its Director and Senior Vice President, Real Estate. Mr Taljaard secured the HVS European Cup 2003 for his mantelpiece by winning a fun competition held by HVS International at that year's IHIF conference in Berlin. A man clutching such a prestigious trophy was bound to attract attention, and J Sainsbury subsequently signed him as its Property Director, Supermarkets. Now Whitbread has lured Mr Taljaard back to the hospitality sector by appointing him as its Group Development Director. He will be responsible for the company's new business development, its acquisition and divestment activities and managing Whitbread's retail property portfolio.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 30/09/04-07/10/04

NH Hoteles - The Spanish market took note of another share purchase by Spanish bank Bancaja, which has taken its holding to 6.12%.

Accor - Goldman Sachs recently named Accor among its top picks in the hotel sector.

Hilton Group - UBS recently cut its rating to 'Neutral'.