Source: HVS, 19 December 2010
Palm Jumeirah To Produce A New Coconut
The Fairmont Palm Jumeirah Hotel was supposed to come to fruition on the man-made, palm tree-shaped island in Dubai this year, but the struggle to find funding for the project meant that the completion date was set back. However, the development is back on track as IFA Hotels & Resorts announced this week that it has secured US$115 million in funding for the hotel, through its asset management subsidiary IFA Hotel Investments, from UK-based Standard Chartered Bank. Thanks to this new finance deal, the hotel is now expected to unfold its fronds in the first quarter of 2012. Commenting on the news, IFA Hotel Investments’ president, Joe Sita, said “This is the first new foreign-bank funding for a Dubai hotel real estate development we have seen in a very long time. It is evidence of renewed confidence in the region and the industry and confirmation of ongoing confidence in the IFA Group and its projects on the Palm Jumeirah.” When completed, this will be IFA Hotels & Resorts fifth development on the trunk of Palm Jumeirah and construction has started on the group’s Kingdom of Sheba development on the palm’s crescent.
A High-Five For Premier Inn
Whitbread’s Premier Inn brand has completed deals for five new sites in the UK and has also acquired planning permission for three more. The budget brand’s new hotels are in Cambridge (120 rooms), Farnborough (80 rooms), Widnes (60 rooms), Dartford (61 rooms) and Paignton (60 rooms). Planning permission has been granted for a 60-room hotel in Newton Abbot, a 120-room hotel in High Wycombe and a 76-room property in Dorchester.
A Touch Of Luxury For Austria…
Accor’s luxury Sofitel brand has re-entered the Austrian market this week with the opening of the 182-room Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom, in Vienna. The 18-storey hotel, which was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, has brought with it a bit of greenery to the Austrian capital in the form of landscape architect and botanist Patrick Blanc’s vertical garden, a living wall of 20,000 species of flora. According to Accor’s website, the French company currently has 30 other hotels (4,190 rooms) in operation in Austria under its various brands.
…And A Regent’s Tale For Germany
Whilst Accor was in Austria, Hyatt Regency Hotels was just next door in Germany, opening its first hotel in the city of Düsseldorf: The 230-room Hyatt Regency Düsseldorf, which is housed in one of two newly built towers in the city’s Media Harbour area. This is Hyatt’s fifth hotel in Germany; the US-based company also operates hotels in Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg and Mainz.
More Rooms For Rezidor
Since taking over the management of the Radisson Blu Majestic Resort, Galzignano Terme, Italy, in May this year, Rezidor Hotel Group has already renovated and rebranded 217 rooms in the resort complex. The group announced this week that it is to extend the resort with a further 210 rooms, which are expected to be completed in 2011.
StayWell Plan To Stay In London
As part of its plans to expand to Europe, Australian-based independently owned hotel management company StayWell Hospitality Group has announced that it is considering the development of a Park Regis hotel in London. Park Regis is StayWell’s upscale four-star brand. “We want to go into Europe, and if you have to start somewhere, London is the logical place”, said StayWell’s chief executive officer, Simon Wan. “We hope to announce a Park Regis there in the next couple of months”, he added. The group currently has a portfolio of 24 hotels in the Asia Pacific region and has put down roots in the Middle East with the recent opening of the 392-room Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel, in Dubai. Africa is Staywell’s next destination as the 201-room Leisure Inn Casablanca, in Morocco, is due to open in mid 2011.
Ian Schrager To Make His Mark…Twice!
Hotelier Ian Schrager, who together with Marriott International developed the Edition brand, is to create two new hotel brands for his new company Schrager Hotels; one brand will include luxury lifestyle hotels and the other is said to focus on stylish, reasonably priced properties. Mr Schrager plans to bring the brands to 24 cities worldwide, including Paris, Barcelona, Istanbul and London. The first hotel is scheduled to open in Chicago, USA, in September 2011.
Hilton Walks Like An Egyptian In Hurghadas
Hilton Worldwide signed a management agreement with Egyptian engineering company Afak Co. for Touristic Development that will see the US hotel company open its fourth property in the resort of Hurghada, on the Red Sea, in Egypt. The new-build Hilton Makadi Resort is expected to open with 330 rooms in June 2011; a further 346 rooms will be completed by the second quarter of 2012. Upon opening, the hotel will bring Hilton’s portfolio in Egypt up to 17 properties. Also in the Middle East this week, Japanese company Jal Hotels opened its second property in the UAE: the 471-room Hotel Jal Tower Dubai, which is owned by Kuwait-based Acico Industries.
A Trading Update From Whitbread
For the 39 weeks to 2 December 2010, Whitbread recorded an increase in like-for-like occupancy for its Premier Inn brand to 80.0%; occupancy for the full year is forecast to be 77.0%. Like-for-like RevPAR grew by 9.2%, from £40.01 to £43.70, outperforming the overall budget sector by almost five percentage points. The total amount of room nights sold in the 39 weeks to 2 December rose by 14.8% to 8.9 million. Commenting on the update, Andy Harrison, Whitbread’s chief executive, said: “The positive momentum in our business gives us confidence that, despite tougher comparatives and an uncertain outlook for consumer spending, the outturn for the full year will be in line with market expectations for strong profit growth.” As of 2 December 2010, Whitbread’s portfolio of hotels comprises 590 properties (43,730 rooms).