Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 10 June 2005
Oman, That's Big
Jurys Reaches A Verdict On The Ballsbridge Hotels
Pandox Agrees To Sell 12 Hotels In Sweden
Spain Takes Accor's 4,000th Hotel
Marriott On The Ball In Gelsenkirchen
Nite Nite, Sleep Tight
From W To XYZ With Starwood
Protea Hotels Heads For Kenya
Quintessential Hotels Shortens Its Name To QHotels
Riu Reaches Ten In Andalusia
Ambassador Welcomes Prince To Ghana

Oman, That's Big
Al Madina Al Zarqa (‘the Blue City’) is a proposed mixed-use urban development, which will, it is said, become one of the largest of its kind in the Middle East region. Work on the project in Barka, on the outskirts of Muscat, in Oman, is due to begin towards the end of the year, and a highlight of the first phase of the construction will be five beach resorts and hotels, together sharing a total of some 2,000 rooms. By the time the entire development is finished – in some 15 to 20 years’ time – it will cover 34 km² and have absorbed some US$15 billion of investment. ReeMoon Real Estate Development, the Bahrain-based firm that is managing the project, commissioned HVS International to advise it on this first phase of the Blue City development.

Jurys Reaches A Verdict On The Ballsbridge Hotels Return to Headlines
The fate of the three hotels that stand on what Jurys Doyle Hotel Group refers to as its ‘Ballsbridge site’ in Dublin has been sealed as the company announced the results of a strategic review. The five-acre site is to be put up for sale immediately and with it the Jurys Ballsbridge Hotel and The Towers. Jurys Doyle will aim to retain the area occupied by The Berkeley Court, and, if planning approval can be secured, the company will redevelop the five-star property as a four-star hotel.

Pandox Agrees To Sell 12 Hotels In Sweden Return to Headlines
Pandox, the Swedish hotel property company, has agreed to sell one-third of its portfolio in Sweden to the Norwegian company NorGani Hotels for 1.1 billion Swedish kronor. Pandox did not identify any of the 12 hotels being sold. The company will make a capital gain of 400 million Swedish kronor from the deal.

Spain Takes Accor's 4,000th Hotel Return to Headlines
Accor has reached the milestone of 4,000 hotels worldwide with the opening of the 134-room Novotel Madrid Sanchinarro on the outskirts of the Spanish capital Madrid. Accor now has 51 hotels of all brands on the Iberian peninsula, but the company is not contemplating a siesta just yet; it wants another 20 hotels in Spain by 2006. A Novotel should be open in the Russian capital Moscow in late 2007. The city authorities and Torgovy Dom Shatyor are working together on the US$45 million project, which will see the 220-room, four-star hotel built at the Gostiny Dvor retail and exhibition complex.

Marriott On The Ball In Gelsenkirchen Return to Headlines
The first cheers to fill the AufSchalke Arena in the World Cup summer of 2006 are likely to be those raised by Marriott International and Hotelgesellschaft Gelsenkirchen & Co. in celebration of the opening of the Courtyard by Marriott Gelsenkirchen. The pair have signed a franchise agreement on the 198-room hotel, which will open next to the football stadium in the city of Gelsenkirchen to become the fifteenth Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Germany. The cheers you can hear right now in neighbouring Austria are for Accor, which has scored with a brace of openings in the southeastern city of Graz. The 95-room Mercure Graz City and the 86-room Etap Hotel Graz share the same building.

Nite Nite, Sleep Tight Return to Headlines
The latest concept to hit the UK budget hotel sector is Nite Nite, which will reportedly be making its debut inside the Centenary Plaza apartment block in central Birmingham. None of the 105 rooms will have a window; instead, guests can choose to view the outside world through a 45-inch plasma television screen. The view inside is of a room half the size of a conventional room in a budget hotel but one finished to a luxury standard. An overnight stay will cost a reported £45.

From W To XYZ With Starwood Return to Headlines
It was only a matter of time before the science of genetic modification crossed over into the hotel world. Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced the breakthrough, after a team there successfully extracted DNA from the W brand. The material was then modified to change the portion that determines market positioning to ‘select service’. Hotels thus created (and currently known as Project XYZ) are due to be released in the USA from 2007 onwards and they could multiply rapidly, perhaps reaching more than 500 by 2015. Starwood is hopeful that the modified product will act on travellers’ brains by blocking any thoughts they might have had of wanting to stay at a Courtyard by Marriott or Hilton Garden Inn and introducing instead its own images of “style, design and energy at comfortable rates”.

Protea Hotels Heads For Kenya Return to Headlines
South African chain Protea Hotels has announced that it has made its first venture into Kenya. Its destination was Village Market – a shopping and recreational complex in the capital Nairobi that is the largest in east Africa. A 102-room luxury boutique hotel is to be built there. The property, which will also have 20 duplex suites for long-stay guests, is due to open in mid 2007.

Quintessential Hotels Shortens Its Name To QHotels Return to Headlines
Relief for typists everywhere this week as Quintessential Hotels announced that it had changed its name to QHotels. The Leeds-based company, which has a portfolio of five hotels in the UK, may be shortening its name but it is being expansive when it comes to spending money on refurbishment. All five hotels will benefit from the £39.5 million programme. The Midland in Manchester receives the largest share (£13 million) of the pot and The Park Royal, in nearby Warrington, which is the company’s most recent acquisition, the smallest (£3 million).

Riu Reaches Ten In Andalusia Return to Headlines
Riu Hotels & Resorts’ tenth hotel in the Andalusia region of southern Spain is the 280-room, four-star Riu Puerto Marina Benalmádena. One of the other nine is the four-star Hotel Riu Monica, which stands in the coastal town of Nerja. Reports suggest that the 234-room property is set to close in October for a thorough renovation, which should be completed by February 2006. Another hotel in southern Europe that can testify to the benefits of a really hearty scrub is the 370-room Rome Cavalieri Hilton, in Italy, which has emerged from a four-year programme of renovation costing a reported US$45 million.

Ambassador Welcomes Prince To Ghana Return to Headlines
The Ambassador’s reception once teemed with guests. Then, at some point in the 1980s, the party suddenly ended, and the hotel in Accra fell into decline and disrepair. Only a prince could rescue such a forlorn prospect. And as luck would have it, one day, in April 2003, HH Prince Al Waleed came riding by. The romance was a slow-burning one – it would be two years before the prince returned. He arrived in the Ghanaian capital at the end of last week to see his Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) and the government draw up plans for the hotel’s restoration. KHC will invest a reported US$80 million in a two-phase renovation process that should see a rejuvenated five-star hotel reopen in 2007.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 02/06/05-09/06/05

Accor - Reports suggest that the company has indicated that it foresees a return to the trading levels in Phuket that it realised before the tsunami disaster.

Sol Meliá - Cazenove initiated its coverage with an 'Outperform' rating.

Jurys Doyle Hotel Group - The company rejected Precinct Investments' offer of €16.25 a share.