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News from around the EMEA region, Feb 17.
Sunday, 17th February 2013
Source : HVS International
Hotel, industry and travel news from around the EMEA region; this week: Grand Hyatt Berlin ownership change, Rezidor expands further in Ukraine and more....

A Gathering Of Stars In France

Groupe Du Louvre, an affiliate of Starwood Capital, has sold four iconic, luxury properties in France to Constellation Hotels Holdings Ltd for an undisclosed sum. Additionally, it has emerged that Hyatt Hotels Corporation has signed management agreements with affiliates of Constellation Hotels for the four hotels, more than doubling Hyatt’s portfolio in France. The rebranding of the hotels will begin in April 2013. The 950-room Hotel La Fayette, in Paris, is to become the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile. Also in the capital, the 177-room Hotel du Louvre will retain its name for the time being, but following a two- to three-year renovation it will join the Andaz brand. The 409-room Hotel Martinez, in Cannes, will be renamed the Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez. And lastly, the 188-room Palais de la Méditerranée, in Nice, will be rebranded as the Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée.  

The Grand Hyatt Berlin Gets A New Owner

Al Rayyan Tourism and Investment, a subsidiary of Qatar-based Al Faisal Holding, has signed a purchase agreement with SEB Management to acquire the five-star Grand Hyatt Berlin in Germany’s capital for an undisclosed sum. The 342-room hotel, which opened in 1998, is part of the city’s mixed-use Potsdamer Platz quarter, and it is the second Berlin hotel that Al Rayyan has purchased from SEB’s ImmoInvest portfolio – at the beginning of 2013, it acquired the 505-room Maritim Hotel in Berlin’s diplomatic district for approximately €180 million.  
Four New Hotels For Sardinia 

Qatar Holding has announced plans to build four hotels on the Italian island of Sardinia as part of a €1 billion project on the island’s Costa Smeralda, increasing bed capacity from 400 to 900. A 150-room Harrods hotel, a 200-room family hotel, a 90-room property in Pevero and a 75-room hotel in Razza di Juncu are to be developed over the next seven to ten years. The project will also include a water park amongst other facilities.  
Rezidor To Reach Half A Dozen In Ukraine

Rezidor Hotel Group is to open its sixth hotel in Ukraine and number three for the city of Kiev in the third quarter of 2013. The Park Inn by Radisson Troyitska, Kyiv is currently under construction in Kiev city centre, adjacent to the Olympiyskiy National Sports Complex, the venue for the Euro 2012 Football Championship final. The 199-room hotel is owned by Smart Holding, which has invested approximately US$30 million in the project. Rezidor’s president and chief executive officer, Wolfgang Neumann, commented that the signing “strengthens our position in Ukraine where we are the market leader with eight hotels and 1,900 rooms in operation and under development.”  
Mourouj Takes Flight

Abu Dhabi-based hotel management company Mourouj Hotels and Resorts is building up its presence in the Middle East. The group has signed a management agreement for the Concorde Hotel in Fujairah, bringing its portfolio up to four, with two other properties in Abu Dhabi and one in Dubai. The 206-room hotel has been renamed the Concorde by Mourouj Hotels and Resorts. The group also reportedly has two more hotels under construction in Jeddah and Al Ain.  
Isrotel Journeys To Jerusalem

Isrotel plans to open its first hotel in Jerusalem, Israel, in 2015. The five-star, 250-room hotel is currently under construction in the city’s German Colony neighbourhood. A total of ILS450 million (US$121.8 million) is being invested in the project, including ILS260 million (US$70 million) for construction costs. Isrotel currently owns and operates 15 hotels in the country. Commenting on the new addition to Jerusalem’s hotel market, Israel’s former tourism minister Stas Misezhnikov, said, “More than 80% of all tourists coming to Israel visit Jerusalem so the increase in hotel-room supply and the addition of new hotel rooms is essential given the ministry’s target of 5 million tourists by 2015.”  
It’s Crystal Clear And Green For Starwood Capital 

Starwood Capital has announced the launch of two new brands: Baccarat Hotels & Resorts, which is expected to position the 250-year-old Baccarat Crystal company as a leader in luxury lifestyle properties, and, eco lifestyle brand 1 Hotels & Resorts, which will provide its guests with ecological services and amenities such as farm-to-table dining. Five openings are already scheduled for the next 24 months under Starwood Capital’s hotel brand management company, SH Group, including the Baccarat Hotel Rabat in Morocco (the other four openings will be in New York and Florida in the USA). Future destinations for the Baccarat brand include Dubai and other locations in the Middle East. Additionally, the first international market to be targeted by 1 Hotels & Resorts will be Morocco, Marrakech. 

Blu Skies In Maputo

Rezidor Hotel Group’s Radisson Blu brand has made its debut in Mozambique, southeast Africa. The Radisson Blu Hotel, Maputo opened this week in Mozambique’s capital. Overlooking the Indian Ocean, the 154-room hotel is in proximity to Joaquim Chissano International Conference Centre, the city’s various embassies and consulates, and Maputo International Airport. Rezidor operates one other hotel in Mozambique, the 117-room Park Inn by Radisson, Tete in the south of the country.  
A Write New Hotel For Nairobi

Nairobi-based Hemmingways Collection plans to open a new hotel in Kenya, bringing its portfolio of luxury resorts and hotels up to three. It is rumoured that just over KES1 billion (US$11.2 million) was invested in the 45-room Hemmingways Nairobi, which is due to open on a ten-acre plot near the Karen Country Club in Kenya’s capital this March. Hemmingways is also reported to be looking at expanding into the East Africa region, particularly Uganda and Tanzania.  

A Good Fourth Quarter For Starwood

Starwood Hotels & Resorts reported a net income for the fourth quarter of 2012 of US$142 million (US$0.72 per share), a 14% drop on 2011. However, the group’s management and franchise revenue increased 11.2% on the same period in 2011. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was US$325 million. Occupancy for the group’s hotels in Europe rose by 1.0%, and its properties in the Middle East and Africa achieved an occupancy increase of 1.2% (in constant dollars). “We held our costs in check for the fourth year in a row, grew our footprint with quality hotels and contracts, sustained high RevPAR and occupancies in an uncertain environment and we realised great value from real estate sales,” said Frits van Paasschen, Starwood’s chief executive officer. During the last quarter of 2012, Starwood signed 40 hotel management and franchise contracts (8,400 rooms), 30 of which are new builds and ten are conversions from other brands. As of 31 December 2012, the group had a pipeline of 400 hotels (100,000 rooms). 
Four Seasons To Fill A Vacant Spot

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts announced this week that its current chief executive officer, Kathleen Taylor, is leaving the company. Ms Taylor has worked at the company for almost 25 years and she took over the role of chief executive officer from Isadore Sharp, Four Seasons’ founder, in 2010. “Katie has been a trusted colleague and fundamental to building Four Seasons into the admired and successful company it is today,” said Mr Sharp. “Katie embodied the Four Seasons values in all that she has done,” he added. Four Seasons has now launched a search to find Ms Taylor’s successor.

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