Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 16 December 2005
Le Meridien Checks Into Prague
A Spanish Renaissance And The Birth Of Courtyard In Russia
Marriott International Acquires The Munich Marriott
Tritax Cuts A Deal On 13 UK Hotels
Turkey Is Definitely On The Raffles Menu
Rotana Hotels Launches A New Brand
IFA Hotels Brings Fairmont To South Africa
Dawnay Shore Hotels Acquires The Furlong Hotel Group
Florence Agrees That It's Time For Hilton
The Savoy In Moscow Reopens
Whitbread Reports On Its Third Quarter

Le Meridien Checks Into Prague
Starwood Hotels & Resorts was wed recently to the Le Meridien brand. The couple will begin their honeymoon in the Czech capital Prague, where Le Meridien has signed an agreement to manage a five-star hotel. Local firm J&T Global and the Belgians of Buelens Real Estate are to redevelop a bank premises into the Le Royal Meridien Prague, which will add at least 165 rooms to the city’s hotel room stock when it opens in early 2009. To prevent envy from stirring among the other brands in its harem, Starwood has treated Four Points by Sheraton to its first trip to Africa. The destination was Port Harcourt in Nigeria, where the Oriental Hospitality & Tourism Co. is at work on a hotel of 124 rooms that is due to open in January 2008.

A Spanish Renaissance And The Birth Of Courtyard In Russia Return to Headlines
The Renaissance brand has never been to Spain before, but its moment will come next year. Spanish firm Jorsu Catalana is labouring down on the Mas Blau Business Park in Barcelona to make the dream come true in the shape of the 259-room Renaissance Barcelona Airport. Another of Marriott International’s brands – Courtyard by Marriott – has yet to tick off Spain on its list of countries visited, and, until this month, the box next to Russia was similarly blank. The brand not only broke its duck in Russia but also took its worldwide room count to 100,000 with the 218 rooms supplied by the Courtyard by Marriott Moscow City Center.

Marriott International Acquires The Munich Marriott Return to Headlines
Marriott International has paid an undisclosed sum to The Blackstone Group for the 348-room, four-star Munich Marriott Hotel in Germany. The property, which had an asking price of €65 million, was in Blackstone’s possession for two years; the company announced in December 2003 that it had formed a joint venture with Event Hotels to pay an undisclosed sum to a private Japanese investor for the hotel.

Tritax Cuts A Deal On 13 UK Hotels Return to Headlines
UK property investment firm Tritax has paid close to a reported £71 million for 13 hotels in the UK: 12 Ibis hotels and one Etap. London & Regional Properties put the portfolio, which has a total of 1,190 rooms, on the market in May with a minimum asking price of £69 million. Among the properties sold were the 141-room Ibis London Gatwick Airport and the 127-room Ibis Liverpool City Centre.

Turkey Is Definitely On The Raffles Menu Return to Headlines
Raffles International has raised its presence in Turkey by signing a contract to manage a hotel under development in the capital Ankara. Turkish firm Gülsan Insaat, Sanayi, Turizm, Nakliyat ve Ticaret is working on the project, which will produce the 150-room Swissôtel Ankara in April 2006. Raffles currently operates Swissôtel The Bosphorus, in Istanbul, and the Swissôtel Göcek Marina & Spa Resort. The company has plans for a double opening in Turkey in 2007: Swissôtel The Celik Palas, in Bursa, and Swissôtel The Grand Hotel Efes, in Izmir.

Rotana Hotels Launches A New Brand Return to Headlines
Rotana Hotels has obviously spotted many an executive trudging across the sands of the Middle East, their brows furrowed by their particular company’s travel expenses policy (which might explain why the executives are on foot). For Rotana has decided to launch a brand of hotels – Centro – that will cater specifically for business people such as these. Although the opening of the first hotel is two years away, this initial trickle should soon turn into a flood: Rotana has a five-year plan to open 25 Centro hotels in major cities across the Middle East.

IFA Hotels Brings Fairmont To South Africa Return to Headlines
IFA Hotels & Resorts has invited its old friend Fairmont Hotels & Resorts to come to South Africa and manage a resort with its name on it in Zimbali. The Fairmont Zimbali project has a value in excess of US$250 million and will see the development of a five-star hotel and a golf course. IFA’s fondness for Zimbali is illustrated by its involvement in the current development of a second hotel at the Zimbali Lodge resort.

Dawnay Shore Hotels Acquires The Furlong Hotel Group Return to Headlines
Dawnay Shore Hotels (DSH) has acquired the Furlong Hotel Group for £41 million. Furlong has three country house hotels in the southwest of England: The Lygon Arms, in the Cotswolds; Billesley Manor, near Stratford-upon-Avon; and Combe Grove Manor, near Bath. The 182 rooms that these three properties offer between them will enter the portfolio of the Paramount Group of Hotels, which is operated by DSH. The new owners will spend a total of £1.5 million on the refurbishment of all three hotels, each of which could also find itself engaged in a project to add extra rooms.

Florence Agrees That It's Time For Hilton Return to Headlines
The latest addition to Hilton International’s Italian collection is the Hilton Florence Metropole. The 212-room hotel is one of two properties that native chain Mita Hotels has in the city of Florence. The property was known as the Metropole Hotel Centro Congressi before it took its Hilton franchise. Golden Tulip Hotels has been another to flourish a franchise agreement, though it has stayed at home in the Netherlands to do so. Mr Cor van Duijn will celebrate New Year’s Day by raising the Golden Tulip flag outside the Golden Tulip Zoetermeer Centre, a 90-room hotel in the city of Zoetermeer.

The Savoy In Moscow Reopens Return to Headlines
One of the oldest hotels in Moscow – the Savoy – can testify that an 18-month programme of renovation is just the thing to restore youthful vigour. So sprightly is the 68-room boutique property after its US$20 million makeover that it will shortly be the first Russian hotel to skip through the doors of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Not to be outdone, the Latvian capital Riga is poised for a party of its own to welcome Centrum Hotels’ 80-room, five-star Monika Centrum Hotel.

Whitbread Reports On Its Third Quarter Return to Headlines
Whitbread expects the remainder of its financial year to be a challenging time, the company having completed the 39 weeks to 1 December with group like-for-like sales down 0.5% on the previous year’s comparable. While it waits to see whether it can finish the year with its room count at 30,000, the Premier Travel Inn portfolio can content itself with like-for-like sales that are 7.3% ahead.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 08/12/05-15/12/05

De Vere Group - The company noted that it had received – and rejected – an approach from an unnamed party.

Hilton Group - Speculation that Hilton Group was close to selling its hotel business lifted the share price.

InterContinental Hotels Group - Merrill Lynch placed a 'Buy' rating on the stock.