Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 3 September 2004
The Hilton Triangle: Where Hotels Appear
KapHag Holding Is Said To Have Sold Up In Berlin
Irish Developers Might Shell Out For The Shelbourne
More Ground Covered In Africa
An Update From Whitbread
Consortium Consumes Bratislava's Carlton Hotel
BIL Posts Thistle Hotels' Full-Year Results
Three Hotels Join In With The Corus Brand
Blow Away Those Autumn Blues: Visit The International Hotel Conference

The Hilton Triangle: Where Hotels Appear
The baseline in Hilton International's Spanish hotel triangle connects the cities of Barcelona and Valencia. To complete the triangle the company needed an apex, and it has now found one a mere 800 metres from the terminal buildings at Barajas Airport in Madrid. The 285-room Hilton Madrid Airport, which is due to open in early 2006, has the double honour of being the only five-star hotel at Barajas Airport and is the first to fly the Hilton flag in the Spanish capital. Hilton personnel on the tarmac may well have had their hair ruffled by the slipstream of passing jets whisking excited representatives of two Spanish hotel chains off to foreign lands. Hesperia Hoteles touched down in the UK, and paid Goldman Sachs International £35 million for the Holiday Inn London-Victoria. The 212-room, four-star hotel – the company's first UK property – will henceforth be known as the Hesperia London Victoria. Sol Meliá's flight was bound for Portugal, where the company is to manage a four-star Meliá Boutique Hotel in the northeastern town of Lousa.

KapHag Holding Is Said To Have Sold Up In Berlin Return to Headlines
German real estate firm KapHag Holding is reported to have sold a hotel complex currently under development near the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin to Deutsche Bank for close to €50 million. The complex will be home to three Accor hotels – a 217-room Etap, a 146-room Ibis and a Suitehotel – all of which are due to open later this year. Meanwhile, the German government will later this month make another attempt to sell off part of the 10,000-room complex at Prora on the Baltic island of Rügen. It would seem that the government is keen to sell this 1930s relic: one report claims the opening bid price for five of the eight blocks is a mere €125,000.

Irish Developers Might Shell Out For The Shelbourne Return to Headlines
The Irish Times reports that two directors from Castlethorn Developments are part of a group of Irish property developers that is in talks with the Royal Bank of Scotland about purchasing the Shelbourne Hotel for a reported €170 million. Le Meridien's flag once flew outside the property in Dublin until the hotelier hit financial difficulties; Marriott International announced in January this year that it had stepped in to take up the lease, and by 2007 the hotel will have been fully renovated and will then be known as The Shelbourne, a Renaissance Hotel. Elsewhere in Ireland, Edward Holdings' Scotch Hall mixed-use development in the port of Drogheda received the go-ahead in June 2002 and a 104-room, four-star hotel was part of the plan from the start. Now as the hotel moves ever closer to its scheduled opening date of October 2005 so the Irish press reports that the property will be part of the portfolio of Monogram Hotels, a new company owned by Edward Holdings. Hoteliers in Ireland who may have wanted to be immortalised in wax might have to settle for being immortalised in brick instead if Donie Cassidy TD is successful in his application to demolish the National Wax Museum in Dublin and replace it with a 118-bed hotel.

More Ground Covered In Africa Return to Headlines
Any fears guests may have that they could possibly have shrunk since their last visit to the Sofitel Marrakech are groundless: it is just that the hotel in western Morocco has grown in size from 260 rooms to 347. The city though still has plenty of space for new hotels, and a little bit more of that ground was covered at the end of last month by the 85-room, five-star Hivernage hotel. Space could well be at a premium in nearby Tunisia, where seven new hotels are currently under construction in the northwestern resort of Tabarka. South African chain Protea Hotels, though, is allowing itself plenty of room to expand; reports suggest that the company wants to add eight new properties to the five it currently operates in the west African republic of Nigeria.

An Update From Whitbread Return to Headlines
The hotels in the Travel Inn portfolio, which are being encouraged to mingle gradually with their siblings in the Premier Lodge chain, sounded a defiant note by recording 6.3% growth in like-for-like sales in the 24 weeks to 19 August. Whitbread's Chief Executive Alan Parker noted that the integration of the two brands – to form Premier Travel Inn – was going well and that the performance of the Premier Lodge business had so far met Whitbread's expectations. The Marriott hotels need not be jealous of Whitbread's new baby, though, for they recorded like-for-like sales growth of 4.9% over the same period. Like-for-like sales for the group as a whole over the 24 weeks were up 3.1%.

Consortium Consumes Bratislava's Carlton Hotel Return to Headlines
A consortium of investors headed by Nautical 1, Patron Capital and Truthheim Invest has paid Suez-Tractebel €60 million for the 168-room Radisson SAS Carlton Hotel and the offices and retail components surrounding it in the Slovakian capital Bratislava. Elsewhere in eastern Europe, reports from Croatia suggest that three bidders have expressed an interest in acquiring a 68.08% stake in the 143-room, three-star Hotel Split, which stands in the Adriatic resort of Split. The three contenders, ranked here in ascending order of their reported offers, are US firm ACI Group (€10.6 million), Austrian real estate investment firm Real4You (€11.2 million) and its compatriot Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank (€11.9 million). All three are reported to have pledged additional sums towards the hotel's renovation and subsequent elevation to four-star status. We may not need calculus to tell us that five is two more than three, but it does need Calculus the company to inform us that five is the number of bids it has received for the 29-room Hotel Rolands in the Latvian capital Riga.

BIL Posts Thistle Hotels' Full-Year Results Return to Headlines
Thistle Hotels' time over the year to 30 June 2004 was spent more profitably in London, according to financial results published by its owner BIL International. Occupancy in London rose by 2.1 percentage points, to 79.6%, and with average rate rising too it meant that RevPAR across the capital was 6.9% higher, at £56.91. In contrast, hotels in the UK provinces saw occupancy slip to 66.4% from the previous year's 67.0% with RevPAR consequently falling, by 0.5%, to £36.99. The entire Thistle Hotels portfolio returned revenue of £291.7 million, an increase of 3.8% on 2003. Perhaps to reward the London hotels for their performance, BIL said that work to upgrade the likes of the Thistle Tower, The Royal Horseguards and Thistle Marble Arch would be continuing.

Three Hotels Join In With The Corus Brand Return to Headlines
The press in the southwest of England and the West Midlands have observed Corus Hotels crossing their respective territories to indulge in a spot of rebranding. The 112-room Redwood Lodge Hotel & Country Club in the centre of Bristol is now the Corus Hotel Bristol. Another hotel with 112 rooms, The Regency Hotel, in Solihull on the outskirts of Birmingham, is now known as the Corus Hotel Solihull, while in nearby Redditch the 58-room former Westmead Hotel is now the Corus Hotel Birmingham South. The centre of Birmingham, meanwhile, has welcomed Thomas Vale Construction to its midst; the company is to refurbish the food and beverage facilities at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham in work costing a reported £850,000.

Blow Away Those Autumn Blues: Visit The International Hotel Conference Return to Headlines
The sun will be slightly lower in the sky and perhaps a few of the yachts may have sailed away to warmer climes, but Monte Carlo will still be the place to be this October as at least 100 high-profile speakers descend on the Le Meridien Beach Plaza Hotel: home for three days to the International Hotel Conference. So shake the autumn leaves from your turn-ups, follow the expected 400 participants inside and have your ears thawed by speakers such as Michael Flaxman of Accor, Peter M. Anscomb from the Royal Bank of Scotland, and two of our very own from HVS International here in London: Managing Director Russell Kett and Director Simon Hudspeth. Further details are available on the website www.internationalhotelconference.com. click here

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 26/08/04-02/09/04

Hilton Group - Morgan Stanley raised its target price from 300p to 320p. Williams de Broe has a 'Buy' rating on the stock.

InterContinental Hotels Group - The share price was checked by the news from Whitbread. Deutsche Bank though has a 'Buy' rating ahead of IHG's interims, which are due next week.

Whitbread - A trading update that expressed slightly lower than anticipated like-for-like sales growth in certain brands disappointed the market. CSFB retained a 'Neutral' rating.