Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 30 March 2007
Louvre Opens The Door To A Potential Flood Of Budget Hotels
Namibian Newbies: IFA Hotels And Kempinski
W Scales New Heights
UK Park Inn Meter Registers Four
Conrad For Abu Dhabi; Alex For Radisson
More News Of The InterContinental Tripoli
The Not-So-Empty Quarter
Southern Sun Reappears In The East, On Horseback
Tsokkos Captures Diomedes
Prem Group Adds To Its Belgian Collection
Sniff Out Those Refurbishments

Louvre Opens The Door To A Potential Flood Of Budget Hotels
Louvre Hotels and Warimpex, the Austrian real estate development and investment firm, are to develop budget hotels together in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and, potentially, other countries in Central Europe. Louvre Hotels will operate the properties under its brands Campanile, Première Classe and Kyriad. In a first phase of investment the 50:50 joint venture, which should be set up by the middle of this year, will spend €150 million on the construction of around 30 of the projected minimum of 80 hotels that the pair want to establish over the next five to seven years. The total investment in the project could be as much as €500 million.

Namibian Newbies: IFA Hotels And Kempinski Return to Headlines
IFA Hotels & Resorts has formed a joint venture valued at some US$75 million with the Namibian group of companies Ohlthaver & List that paves the way for Kempinski Hotels to enter Namibia to operate the four hotels possessed by the joint venture. Three of the properties are currently operated by Namib Sun Hotels; they are the 55-room Strand Hotel in the coastal town of Swakopmund; the Chobe King’s Den Lodge, which has ten chalets and is located on the Caprivi Strip, in the northeast of the country; and the 90-room Mokuti Lodge, at Etosha Park. The fourth hotel will be developed in the capital Windhoek.

W Scales New Heights Return to Headlines
No one yet knows what the W hotel brand will be like on skis. No St Bernard in Switzerland yet recognises the brand’s scent. But both human and dog will add to their knowledge store in late 2009 when Starwood Hotels & Resorts slips into the ski resort of Verbier to open the W Verbier Retreat. The 142-room hotel, which Starwood is to manage under an agreement with Les Trois Rocs, the development team behind the Medran Project, of which the hotel is a component, promises the “ultimate après-ski experience”. Best cover the dog’s eyes.

UK Park Inn Meter Registers Four Return to Headlines
Rezidor Hotel Group is to bring three more Park Inn hotels to England and open the first such property in Scotland. The airport serving the Scottish capital Edinburgh will welcome a 160-room hotel, which, in common with its siblings in the English towns of Grimsby and Rotherham, will be a new build. The 120-room Park Inn Grimsby will start where the M180 finishes. The 130-room Park Inn Rotherham will be part of a mixed-use development in the South Yorkshire town. In contrast, the 115-room Park Inn Peterborough City Centre, in the city of Peterborough, will occupy an existing office building. The hotels are set to open over the next two years.

Conrad For Abu Dhabi; Alex For Radisson Return to Headlines
Hilton Hotels Corporation has signed an agreement to manage what will be the first Conrad hotel in Abu Dhabi and its fourth property in total in the emirate. The Conrad Abu Dhabi, which is owned by Mazrui Holdings, will open its 380 rooms and 80 serviced apartments at the Lagoon development in the fourth quarter of 2009. Having something to celebrate in the first quarter of that year will be Rezidor Hotel Group, which has in its schedule for then the opening of its fifth property in Egypt. The Radisson Hotel, Alexandria, which will have 270 rooms, will stand in Alex West, a new suburb of the port of Alexandria.

More News Of The InterContinental Tripoli Return to Headlines
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) revealed last July its plans for an InterContinental hotel in the Libyan capital Tripoli. Since signing a letter of intent last summer, IHG has clearly worn the architect’s pencil to a nub, as the hotel company revealed this week that the InterContinental Tripoli will be more extensive than previously envisaged. The number of guest rooms has risen from 300 to 351, and the answer to how many InterContinental-branded serviced apartments there will be is now 42; originally, there were to have been 26. The hotel’s opening date has in consequence been put back by one year, to 2010. IHG also announced last July that it would be managing another hotel in Tripoli, and this one is to open in 2007 as planned. The Al Waddan hotel has been fully refurbished and will open as a boutique property with 90 rooms.

The Not-So-Empty Quarter Return to Headlines
A 90-minute ride from the airport in Abu Dhabi is the Liwa desert, where a visitor will see probably little more than sand; this desert is, after all, in Rub’ al Khālī – the “Empty Quarter”. But stare a little harder into the haze from May onwards and what you will see is not a mirage but the Tourism Development and Investment Company come from Abu Dhabi to build the five-star resort Qasr al Sarab. A 150-room hotel and 50 villas form part of the development, which is scheduled for completion by 2009.

Southern Sun Reappears In The East, On Horseback Return to Headlines
Southern Sun Hotels, of South Africa, began its adventures in the Middle East in January this year when it opened two four-star hotels – Al Manzil and Qamardeen – at the Downtown Burj Dubai development in Dubai. It is to the emirate that Southern Sun has returned, after it agreed to manage and operate the Plantation Hotel and Spa. The boutique property, which is owned by Arthur Fitzwilliam, will be part of the Equestrian Community at the Dubailand development.

Tsokkos Captures Diomedes Return to Headlines
A. Tsokkos Hotels has completed its acquisition of Diomedes Hotels, thus concluding a process that began last August when Tsokkos decided to open negotiations. Zebalos Enterprises, a newly formed subsidiary of Tsokkos, the family run company that has a portfolio of 21 hotels in its native Cyprus, has paid £9 million (Cyprus pounds), roughly €15 million, for a company that holds a 50% stake, via owner companies, in three hotels. The three properties, all of them located in the Cypriot resort of Protaras, are the 172-room, three-star Antigoni Hotel, the 112-room, four-star Iliada Beach Hotel and the 28-unit Flora Aparthotel. Zebalos has taken the sub-sublease on all three hotels from Aqua Sol Hotels until 31 December 2013, the date on which Diomedes Hotels’ sublease contract with Aqua Sol Hotels expires.

Prem Group Adds To Its Belgian Collection Return to Headlines
As it sealed the acquisition last November of the Golden Tulip Hotel Antwerp and the Tulip Inn Antwerp-Astoria, Prem Group announced that it would be returning to the city of Antwerp to add a third hotel to its newly minted Belgian portfolio. The Irish hotel management company has remained true to its word by opening the 210-room, four-star Ramada Plaza Antwerp. The hotel (formerly the Corinthia Hotel Antwerp) is Ramada International’s first in Belgium. HVS Hodges Ward Elliott was the agent on the sale of the Corinthia Hotel Antwerp.

Sniff Out Those Refurbishments Return to Headlines
The scent of newly refurbished hotel pervades the air in Europe. For the best rhinal stereo effect position yourself somewhere in the vicinity of Luxembourg, face east and inhale. Flare your left nostril and you will catch the aroma of fresh tulips mixed with a hint of river water; ah, the newly extended Golden Tulip Rotterdam-Centre, which with its 263 rooms is now the largest hotel in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. Assailing your right nostril will be subtle notes of edelweiss and kerosene. If you are planning a stay at the Mövenpick Hotel Zürich-Airport, in Switzerland, then please be extra careful not to scuff the skirting. After all, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts and Clair Finanz have invested four years and more than SFr30 million (€18.5 million) in raising the 333-room property to local five-star status.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 22/03/07-29/03/07

Whitbread - Merrill Lynch reiterated its 'Buy' rating and raised its target price to 2,150p. Morgan Stanley had an 'Equal-weight' rating and raised its target price from 1,400p to 2,000p.

InterContinental Hotels Group - The share price slipped slightly as rumoured bid talk faded.

NH Hoteles - Spain's stock market commission gave the go-ahead for trading in more than 16 million new shares issued in NH Hoteles' €250 million rights issue.