HVS EMEA Hospitality Enews - Week Ending 10 October 2008

The latest hospitality news from Europe, the Middle East and Africa

A Royal Exchange

The prestigious Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel on Park Lane in London has connections with the British royal family, being built in the 1920s on the site of the former London home of the Dukes of Westminster. Rumours abound that the five-star, 149-room hotel has now caught the attention of another royal family…the Bahraini royal family has expressed an interest in buying the hotel and are reportedly negotiating a sale of £720 million with the hotel’s owners the Royal Bank of Scotland, which bought the property in 2003. This wouldn’t be the first trip to London by the ruling family of Bahrain as they already own the nearby 219-room Four Seasons Park Lane.

A Mövenpick For Al Raha Beach

Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts has signed a management contract with Abu Dhabi property development company Aldar Properties for the Mövenpick Hotel Al Raha Beach Abu Dhabi. The 300-room, upscale resort hotel is expected to open in 2012 in the mixed-use Al Seef project on Al Raha Beach. This will be hotel number two to be developed and built in the UAE's capital by Aldar as part of a strategic agreement with Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts. Hotel number one is the 500-room Mövenpick Hotel Yas Island which is scheduled to open at the end of 2010. Hotel number three of the agreement is yet to be announced. Also opening in Abu Dhabi in 2010 are two other Mövenpick projects: the 230-room Mövenpick Resort Al Ain, through a partnership with Sorouh Real Estate, and the 445-room Mövenpick Hotel Al Reem Island, through an agreement with Tamouh Investments.

New Hotel Set To Rock Abu Dhabi

Another company to set foot on the shores of Abu Dhabi this week is Hard Rock Hotels, which travelled to the emirate to announce its second project with the Abu Dhabi-based Tasameem Group: the Hard Rock Hotel Abu Dhabi. No information is available yet on the room count or opening date of this five-star development. The first fruit of the partnership between these two companies will be the Hard Rock Hotel Dubai, which is to open in 2011, in the Dubai Trade Centre district, with 350 rooms and 100 serviced apartments.

The Three Towers

The location for this epic development is not Middle Earth but the Middle East and there are three towers not two! Three towers of Starwood Hotels and ResortsLe Meridien Towers Makkah, Saudi Arabia have now officially opened. The remaining five towers are due to open at the end of 2009. The hotel will comprise four of the towers (each containing approximately 165 suites) and the suites in the other four towers will be sold as residential units by the owner of the development, Saudi Arabian development and real estate investment company Al Muttahed.

Rezidor Hotel Group Opts For A Sea View

Enjoying the last days of autumnal sunshine before the onset of winter, Rezidor Hotel Group took a trip to the seaside this week. The company was so impressed with Southend-on-Sea, on the coast in the country of Essex, east of England, that it decided to give it a hotel. The Park Inn Southend-on-Sea is expected to open with 137 rooms in the second quarter of 2009 along the town’s Western Esplanade. This hotel will be Rezidor’s 40th Park Inn property in the UK and Ireland. However, it hasn’t been just sea views and sandy beaches for Rezidor this week. The company has also announced an extension for the 360-room Radisson SAS Hotel Manchester Airport. An additional 150 rooms are to be added to the hotel’s room stock and they are expected to open in the first quarter of 2010.

A Cool Five Stars For Birmingham

Serviced apartment operator Staying Cool holds the honour of being given the first five-star accommodation rating in the city of Birmingham, in the midlands, UK. The property in question is Staying Cool’s penthouse apartments on the top two floors of Birmingham’s iconic cylindrical Rotunda tower. The Staying Cool apartments opened in the tower in May of this year and were awarded the rating by Visit Britain.

BAHA's Hospitality Finance & IT Conference 2008

The Sofitel London Heathrow at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 is not just for those travellers staying overnight before a flight…this year the hotel has been chosen to be the host of BAHA's third Hospitality Finance & IT Conference. The event will take place over 5 and 6 November and it will provide the opportunity for attendees to take part in panel forums, network and attend talks by industry leaders, one of whom will be HVS London’s very own Russell Kett who is to take part in the panel forum “the future of long term funding for the hospitality industry”. For more information and to book your ticket click here.

Kiessling’s Corner

The Castellvi Group has come to an agreement with Sunotel for the construction of a four-star, 275-room business hotel in the 22@ Business Park in Barcelona. Work on the hotel, which is to be designed by architect Fermin fraguas, is expected to start at the beginning of 2009 and is scheduled finish in 2011. This will be Sunotel’s fifth hotel. Elsewhere in Spain, Spanish property company Metrovesaca has put two of its hotels for sale in Madrid: the Husa Princesa and the Husa Moncloa. Sources of the company explained that this plan is part of the business rotation within the company, which aims to augment liquidity. This situation highlights the current difficult economic situation for Spanish companies. According to the British company Reuters, Metrovesaca has received an offer from a Dutch real estate fund of approximately €100 million for both of the hotels. Meanwhile, in the Asturias Region the Palacio de Rubianes Hotel & Golf has recently opened its doors. This 23-room four-star hotel, with its historic medieval façade and spectacular panoramic views, was designed by Fernando Castellon. By Gabrielle Kiessling, Analyst, HVS Madrid.

New Investment Forum: Opportunities In The Mexican Tourism Industry

If your diary is looking bare for November then why not book a ticket to Madrid? You won’t regret it as once there you can attend a conference which is taking place on new investment opportunities in the Mexican tourism Industry. The event is to take place at Casa de America on 6 November. If this has piqued your interest then further details can be obtained from Jan Alessie, Director of Nexus. Telephone: +34 650 161050 alessie@nexus-fp.com. Those already wishing to attend should email their full contact details to foro@nexus-fp.com.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 2-9 October 2008

InterContinental Hotels Group - Societe Generale mainained the company's buy rating but dropped the target price to 875p from 890p.

Millennium & Copthorne - Despite the current economic climate, Goldman expects the company to report "robust" third quarter results.

Whitbread - It is rumoured that Robert Tchenguiz may review a 3% holding in Whitbread.

For the latest in the hospitality industry, please visit: http://www.hvs.com. You are also welcome to contact the following personnel.

Russell Kett, Managing Directorrkett@hvs.com
Charles Human, Managing Director – HVS HWEchuman@hvshwe.com
Hadrien Pujol, Directorhpujol@hvs.com
Tim Smith, Directortsmith@hvs.com
Demetris Spanos, Managing Director – HVS Athensdspanos@hvs.com
Hala Matar Choufany, Managing Director – HVS Dubaihchoufany@hvs.com
Christopher Mumford, Managing Director – Executive Searchcmumford@hvs.com
Philip Bacon, Managing Director – HVS Madrid and Managing Director, EMEA & Asia – HVS Shared Ownership Servicespbacon@hvs.com
Louise Fury, EMEA Hospitality Enews Authorlfury@hvs.com