Posts Tagged :

Investment

Great Hotels of the World sees increased investment over next two years

800 533 Hamish Kilburn

The increased investment comes after Great Hotels of the World was recently acquired by GuestCentric… 

Great Hotels of the World (GHOTW), which includes in its collection properties such as Atlantis The Palm Dubai and Altis Belém Hotel & Spa, will receive more than €3,000,000 investment over the next two years.

GHOTW is a well-established sales and marketing hotel representation company for upscale independent hotels, specialising in the business travel and MICE market.  Following GuestCentric’s full acquisition of the brand, GHOTW now provides unparalleled access to technology, and high-tech, high-touch experiences to its member hotels across the world.

GuestCentric’s investment will be focused in enhancing GHOTW’s presence in the bleisure market. The GHOTW portfolio includes 60 hotels in prime locations, with an average of 150+ bedrooms, and always with superb business and meeting facilities. Crucially, each hotel also has exceptional leisure and spa facilities, meaning they are perfectly positioned to target bleisure travellers.

Image credit: GHOTW

Since its founding in 2004, GHOTW has offered buyers the utmost in MICE offerings via its venue-searching services in particular, and member hotels have had the benefits of belonging to a larger soft-brand group while retaining individuality and autonomy. Now, members will have access to even more cutting-edge technology and services, following GuestCentric’s investment.

Of the investment, President & CEO of GHOTW, Pedro Colaco, commented: “Following the full acquisition of GHOTW under GuestCentric, we are excited to be bringing together two likeminded brands who put technology and service at the forefront of business and bleisure travel. This renewed investment feels particularly relevant given the bleisure market now affects between half and two thirds of all business trips in the world’s main outbound markets; to stay at the forefront of this sector, we must continue our investment and grow the services as far as we can.”

GHOTW has been providing its members with a globally recognised brand, best-in-class MICE Sales & Lead Generation and Corporate Sales & GDS Connectivity, for many years. Now, hotel members also have access to a cutting-edge digital suite that includes integrated Web Design, Booking Engine and Channel Manager. These services are offered in flexible and modular packages, so that members can commit only to the services relevant to their individual property.

Main image credit: GHOTW

Best Western Brook Hotel, Norwich

Best Western to invest £98m in UK hotels over next two years

1000 621 Katy Phillips

Brand committed to improving guest experiences in member hotels.

Best Western Great Britain says it has invested of £214m across its member hotels since 2015, which it claims reflects its ongoing confidence in the market despite concerns around Brexit.

With 251 independently owned and managed hotels under the Best Western brand, the figure equates to an estimated £855,000 per property between 2015 and 2019.

In addition, Best Western has confirmed it will invest a further £70m across in the UK during 2017, with £28m currently planned for 2019.

Best Western says that when asked about the impact of Brexit it found that 98.8% of its members were not concerned and continued to invest in improving their properties, showing no signs of cautiousness. 

North of England Investment

Some of the most significant investments within the Best Western portfolio have been to properties in the North of England and Scotland, including over £6m at Castle Green Hotel in Kendal, BW Premier Collection; an estimated £8m at Ten Hill Place, BW Premier Collection in Edinburgh; and £3.5m at the Best Western Dundee Invercarse Hotel, Dundee.

Rob Paterson, Chief Executive of Best Western Great Britain, said: “The figures are a strong signal to guests and the industry that Best Western continues to invest for the future and change for the better. We are committed to improving guest experiences in our member hotels and the multi-million pound investments being made are increasing NPS scores, raising brand standards and guest expectations. In the last 18 months we have seen a significant pipeline of hotels approved or activated, with 50% of applicants this year for our new brands.

“What is encouraging for guests and investors is that the planned level of investment for 2019 remains high and will increase further. We are proud to champion independent hotels in Great Britain and have plans to make our membership model more attractive, accelerating our growth for guests in the next few years.”

Stanley House completes considerable five-figure investment

Stanley House completes considerable five-figure investment

930 512 Daniel Fountain

The award-winning Stanley House Hotel and Spa, Mellor, has unveiled the second part of its five-figure renovation project.

The investment includes an extensive refurbishment of the multi-purpose function rooms, The Stables and The Lodge, while the hotel’s bridal suites and a further two Manor House bedrooms have undergone complete transformation, offering guests four elegant Manor House suites.

The two function rooms, used for weddings, private events and for business conferences, have been furnished to the highest standards, with a new light, soft, feminine colour scheme breathing new life into the suites to strike a chord with brides-to-be, while the bar’s seating area even boasts horse print upholstery velvet from Mulberry Home.


Meanwhile, the Manor House’s Grade II listed status has led to a tasteful restoration of the rooms, meaning many of the building’s original features – enchanting wooden beams and exposed stonework – remain.

The renovation means the Manor House rooms have been brought up to a standard in line with the international class of the hotel’s Woodlands and Spa building. Some of the rooms feature an opulent bold and rich colour palette, roll top baths add even more luxury, while the original windows hold snug seats, offering unrivalled views out to the rolling Ribble Valley countryside.

The project has been led by Lake District-based interior designer, Sarah Jane Nielsen, renowned for work at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in London’s Mayfair. Her hotel portfolio, includes the creation of the Spa lodges and Gilpin Spice at the Lake District’s Gilpin Lodge. This work gained national recognition, winning the prize for ‘Hotel Interiors’ at the United Kingdom Property Awards 2016-17.

Sarah Jane Nielsen, of Sarah Jane Nielsen Ltd, added: “When I first viewed the Manor House I was spellbound with its potential. There could be no more romantic a venue for the bride and her entourage to preen, gloss and enjoy the preparation process for the big day.

“I wanted to inject a contemporary design edge to the property to excite the guest, but still hold on to its sophisticated intrigue with elegance in this age of building. The rooms had to be personal, comfortable and hugely inspiring in line with the enchantment of the building.

“In the Stables, a neutral, soft colour scheme has been selected to enable brides to feel that the space is their own and can be transformed to suit any style or theme of wedding. The elegantly muted colour scheme is tasteful and sophisticated and will melt into the background but can also hold its own for brides who do not wish to dress the room. Our entire scheme was chosen with this flexibility in mind.

“A contrast of soft grey and fresh white keeps the Lodge space bright and light. An accent of deep green is earthy and grounding, bringing the outside in by reflecting the view of the gardens out of the expansive windows and French doors.”

Bride and grooms to be will get to take in the newly renovated function suites at the upcoming wedding open day on Sunday, September 17, seeing how the room could look on their big day, while the completed bedrooms will also be available for guests to view.

Hastings Hotels invests more than £60m in growing portfolio

1000 543 Daniel Fountain

Hastings Hotels, Northern Ireland’s leading collection of hotels, has announced the continued investment of over £60 million into its growing portfolio. In addition to investing £53 million on its seventh hotel which is due to open in 2018, it has also completed a £10 million renovation programme on its six other hotels.

Howard Hastings, Managing Director of Hastings Hotels said: “Despite the current economic uncertainty across Ireland, we have continued to invest heavily in our properties. We are currently making our biggest single investment to date in the Grand Central Hotel of £53 million and upon completion it will be Northern Ireland’s largest hotel with 304 bedrooms.

Culloden Estate
“At Hastings Hotels we have a long term philosophy to reinvest year on year in our people and our properties which is why we have the leading hotels in Northern Ireland. We do not rest on our laurels and have invested over £10 million in recent years in the continuous investment programmes of our six hotels as we strive to ensure we offer our guests the very best facilities and experience on every visit.

“We have recently completed a £4.8 million renovation of the Culloden Estate & Spa, a new £1.5 million Grand Ballroom at the Everglades Hotel which is now the largest facility of its kind in the North West, invested £2 million in the Europa which has included a new entrance and lobby bar as well as £1 million in the Stormont Hotel with a new look high-tech conference and event facility, lobby and bar area,” Howard continued.

Hastings HotelsEarlier this month Hastings Hotels celebrated 50 years of the ownership of the jewel in its crown, the Culloden Estate & Spa. The luxurious property was purchased in June 1967, and over the course of the last 50 years, under the direction of Sir William Hastings, it has transformed in size and luxury.

The continued investment has been recognised recently with Hastings Hotels picking up five prestigious gongs at the 2017 Irish Hotel Awards. The Slieve Donard Resort & Spa was named Irish Hotel of the year, Conference & Business Hotel of the Year and employee Raymond Edgar picked up Groundsman of the Year while the Culloden Estate & Spa was named Luxury Hotel of the Year and Natalie Gourley from the Stormont Hotel won Conference Manager of the Year.

In addition to this, the Culloden was highly commended at the first ever Georgina Campbell Breakfast Awards 2017 in Dublin in the Best 5-Star Hotel category. The judges stated “It is a lovely place to stay, The Culloden has always taken particular pride in the food served and its provenance. Fine dining in the Mitre Restaurant, overlooking the lough, can be memorable, and the excellent Irish Breakfast that is also served here is keenly anticipated by guests.”

www.hastingshotels.com

UK hotel investment hits £2 billion in H1 2017

UK hotel investment reaches £2 billion in H1 2017

949 541 Daniel Fountain

Investment into the UK hotel market reached £2 billion in the first half of 2017 according to international real estate advisor Savills. The firm predicts that levels will reach £5.1 billion for the full year, up 28% on total 2016 volumes of £4 billion.

Savills notes the hotel investment market in H1 was driven by London and individual sales as overseas investors continue to demonstrate considerable appetite for the sector. The capital remains the largest market, accounting for 55% of transactions by value (£1.1 billion). Individual sales accounted for 92% of transactions by value (£1.834 billion) however a number of high profile portfolios are expected to come to the market in the second half of the year. Overseas investors have been particularly active with an appetite for big ticket lots, accounting for £1.2 billion in the first half of the year in comparison to the £822 million transacted by domestic investors.

Martin Rogers, head of UK hotel transactions at Savills, comments: “The UK hotel market has had a strong start to the year as the sector remains resilient to the headwinds of the last six months. The favourable exchange rate has attracted overseas buyers that are looking for stable, long term income. The anticipation of a softer Brexit will provide further comfort, encouraging development and relieving pressure on staffing.”

The firm highlights key deals for the first half of the year include the sale of the South Place Hotel in London, the sale of the Holiday Inn in Manchester city centre and the on going sales by Lone Star from its Project Solstice portfolio. Larger single asset deals have driven the market in the first half of the year, and as such average price per key in the UK has risen from £119,317 to £147,077 over the last 12 months.

Facebook HQ - Image copyright Andres Garcia Lachner - www.garcialachner.com - www.facebook.com/GarciaLachner - instagram: @GarciaLachner

Facebook to build its own hotel

960 640 Daniel Fountain

According to reports in the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Facebook has unveiled plans to build its own California ‘village’ complete with social housing, retail stores and a hotel.

Located on a corporate campus at Menlo Park, which Facebook bought in 2015 for roughly £300 million. There are also plans to build 1,500 new homes at the development which is opposite the social media giant’s headquarters.

It will primarily be for the use and dwelling of Facebook’s employees, who mostly live near the campus.


In a blog post announcing the plans, the social media giants described the future development as a “mixed-use village” that will provide residents, many of which will be Facebook employees, with housing, transportation services and other amenities.

“We plan to build 125,000 square feet of new retail space, including a grocery store, pharmacy and additional community-facing retail,” Facebook said. The review process of the development is expected to last two years with “grocery, retail, housing and office completed in early 2021”. The post went on the say that “subsequent phases will take two years each to complete”.

The plans have not yet been approved and is expected to take roughly a decade to complete.

he groundbreaking ceremony for Arnava Hotel & Residence, Batu was held back in May, launching the development of this mixed-use property

Adonara Hotel Group announces Arnava Hotel in Batu Indonesia

750 438 Daniel Fountain

The groundbreaking ceremony for Arnava Hotel & Residence, Batu was held back in May, launching the development of this mixed-use property.

Ideally situated for easy access to all of Batu City’s attractions and less than 20 kilometres north-west of Malang, Arnava Hotel & Residence, Batu, will be developed over 7,000m2 at an investment cost of approximately £8.6 million.

Investment in the tourism sector has grown in recent years, with a projected IDR 1.8 trillion (£103 million) in investment in the region in 2016 thanks in part to regional economic stability, with the majority of investment being seen in the trading, hotel, restaurant and associated retail industries.

All investment is carefully monitored in Batu, to protect the city for both current and future growth. With growing demand being seen in the property sector, the Arnava Hotel and Residence mixed-use development, in partnership with the Adonara Group, is however well placed to meet the needs of both individual and corporate investors. The development will boast a capacity of 320 rooms—the largest in Batu City—split between private residences and hotel rooms, and offer myriad opportunities.

ADONARA HOTELS GROUP is a national hotel management company which builds iconic brands such as U Stay, Coral, Arnava, Boston and Amanuba, in partnership and collaboration with investors and regional business partners.

Grand Central Hotel, Belfast

Sir William Hastings ‘proud’ of £53m Grand Central, Belfast investment

500 280 Daniel Fountain

Following revised planning permission being granted for the Grand Central Hotel, Hastings Hotels has announced that its investment will be £53 million on what will be Northern Ireland’s largest hotel.

Building work is now well under way following the approval of the revised plans by Belfast City Council which will see an additional 104 bedrooms bringing the total number to 304 with the creation of over 150 jobs.

Sir William Hastings, Chairman of Hastings Hotels said: “We are pleased that the revised planning permission for the Grand Central Hotel has been approved. This represents our company’s biggest single investment to date of £53 million and is the sum required to create a top quality hotel befitting the name, Grand Central, and of which Belfast City can be proud.

“The Grand Central Hotel will be more than a hotel when it opens in mid 2018. The original Grand Central was built in 1893 and was the thriving hub of Victorian Belfast as well as the finest hotel in Ireland. Winston Churchill, the King of Belgium, Al Jolson, Mario Lanza and the Beatles were all guests who enjoyed its luxurious hospitality. I am extremely proud to be able to pay tribute to this much loved property of the past by naming Belfast’s newest hotel after it.

“The new branding for the hotel will incorporate the Seahorse which is part of Belfast’s Coat of Arms and celebrates the City’s Maritime history. Old photos from the Glory Days of the Grand Central show the Seahorse motif featuring on menus and plates and our new interpretation of this classic Belfast emblem is a permanent reminder of the new Grand Central’s connection with its elegant past,” Sir William continued.

“The Grand Central is a legend reborn and to celebrate this we have created a building wrap which will be changed at regular intervals before the hotel opens. It will help tell the story of the hotel as it is being built and pay tribute to some of the local companies we are working with who are each playing key roles in helping Hastings Hotels create this major development.

“We look forward to working with a wide range of local companies during this major project. Our lead construction partner is Graham Construction and their building expertise and quality of workmanship is second to none. The structural steel has been fabricated in Lisburn and the cladding is being designed and procured through a company based in Moira. The mechanical and electrical contractors are also local as are the bricklayers, joiners, plasterers and even the tower crane driver,” Sir William concluded.

Leeu Collection adds Florence property to European portfolio

Guest Blog – TOPHOTELS: ‘Italy, a sure thing for hotel developers’

960 450 Guest Blog

Italy has an ever-appealing charm – the food, the passion, the beautiful coastline and incredibly historic cities, the architecture and of course, the landscapes. For centuries, Italy has attracted holidaymakers, and continues to do so today, making it almost a sure thing for hotel developers.

One of the more recent hotel projects to open was the La Bagnaia Golf & Spa Resort Siena, a luxury 5-star development branded under Curio by Hilton and situated close to the picturesque town of Siena, known for its medieval brick architecture. The 101-key hotel, resort and golf course allows visitors to take advantage of the serene setting while playing golf or indulging in the swimming pool set within the idyllic grounds of the hotel. The resort is also equipped to handle large events and conferences.

The ultra-modern La Lama in Rome is currently under construction and set to open in the second quarter of 2018. Nicknamed “The Cloud” because of a nebulous structure in the interior of the hotel, the 409-key luxury new build complex will house a 5-star hotel as well as an 1,800 seater auditorium for conferences and events. The complex will be built with sustainability in mind and incorporate modern technologies in its construction and design.

IHG is in the process of building their first hotel in Venice, the InterContinental Venice – Palazzo Nani. Under construction at the moment, the new 51 room luxury hotel will be house in a converted 16th century palace, which will be refurbished to the highest standard, keeping the palace’s stunning ceiling frescoes and hand-carved wooden beams. Set to open at the beginning of next year, the hotel will also have wellness facilities and corporate spaces.

More information on hotel construction in Italy can be found on TOPHOTELPROJECTS.

United Investments Portugal and Bespoke Hotels joint venture

Bespoke Hotels, United Investments Portugal announce joint venture

712 461 Daniel Fountain

United Investments Portugal (UIP) is delighted announce its entry into an inaugural European partnership with Bespoke Hotels International, Bespoke Hotels Portugal & Spain. With plans to develop and manage luxury properties across Portugal & Spain, under the management of Bespoke Hotels.

United Investments Portugal (UIP) is part of the IFA Hotels & Resorts (IFA HR) consortium and investment partnership, a worldwide leader in the development of hotel and residential resort projects, with operations extending across the Middle East, Europe, Africa, North America, and the Indian Ocean.

The announcement comes on the back of IFA Hotel Investments’ growing relationship with Bespoke Hotels International across Dubai and the Middle East, which has seen the Bespoke brand applied to significant sways of IFA’s portfolio of over 3,000 residential units, mixed use developments, and hotels in the region. This arrangement was the first of its kind to see an internationally-backed brand to enter Dubai’s newly formed Holiday Homes sector, and has resulted in a deepening relationship between IFA HR and Bespoke Hotels, with plans to develop further projects across Dubai and the Gulf Region.

“We are thrilled to enter into this partnership with UIP and to be strengthening our relationship with IFA and UIP”, commented Bespoke Hotels CEO, Haydn Fentum. “We have enjoyed considerable success when allying our brands in the Middle East, and hope to carry this momentum into the Portuguese hotel market, which has experienced notable recent growth.”

“We are pleased to announce this joint venture and partnership with Bespoke Hotels International”, added Carlos Leal, Director of United Investments Portugal. “UIP remain committed to expanding and diversifying our portfolio, in Portugal and Spain. We are confident the benefits of this partnership including Bespoke’s operational, management and distribution platforms will contribute to experiencing this growth together.”

£360m development for Coventry city centre

Hotel plans as part of £360m Coventry development

640 330 Daniel Fountain

Plans for a hotel and new restaurants in Coventry have been revealed as part of a £360m development at City Centre South.

Coventry City Council has approved the appointment of the Shearer Property Group for the 818,000-sq-ft mixed-use development in January. The firm has already worked on schemes such as the Parkway shopping centre in Newbury, the Grand Arcade in Cambridge and the new restaurant quarter at Cathedral Lanes in the city.

City Centre South will transform some of the oldest areas of the city centre, including Bull Yard, Shelton Square, City Arcade and Hertford Street, into a development that includes a department store, retail units, restaurants and a hotel.

The hotel and restaurants will be located in the leisure part of the development in Hertford Street, linking to Broadgate Square. The development is hoped to be open for business by 2022.

Councillor George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council, said: “When you look at all the changes happening around Coventry and see the ambitious plans for City Centre South, it shows there are great times ahead for our city.”

Guy Shearer from the Shearer Property Group added: “We are thrilled to have been chosen by the city council to deliver this vitally important regeneration project. This site lies in the very heart of the city centre and is huge by any standards – about the size of 10 football pitches. It finally provides the opportunity to deliver a transformational scheme that will put Coventry back on the map as a retail and leisure destination.”

Palladium Hotels investing $21m in Caribbean/Mexican market

950 569 Daniel Fountain

Palladium Hotel Group has announced plans to invest an additional $21 million to upgrade the guest experiences at its Grand Palladium and The Royal Suites by Palladium properties in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico. The investment is being made to improve quality and consistency as part of the company’s dedication to offering the same high-quality experiences at each hotel at excellent value.

Five million dollars of the total investment will go towards improving food and beverage offerings. In terms of staffing, Palladium Hotels & Resorts is increasing the number of staff by 13-percent over 2017, which will total 8,243 staff at all 12 properties in the Caribbean and Mexico, including the Grand Palladium Resorts & Spas and The Royal Suites by Palladium.

Palladium Hotels

Palladium Hotels & Resorts is also investing in technology at each property in 2017, such as improving the Palladium Hotels & Resorts App so guests can message the concierge directly, increasing the bandwidth of the WiFi, installing better surround sound systems at the pools and updating the entertainment production for live performances at the hotels. Additional shuttles to take guests from one property to another will be added to reduce waiting times when travelling to different lobbies. New pool bikes for exercising in the pool will also be installed. These improvements will be introduced over the course of this year.

Palladium Hotels

“We are dedicated to improving our guests’ experiences in every way possible, so we are investing in upgrades in the areas that matter the most – service, food and beverage, and technology. Guest satisfaction at our upgraded properties in Jamaica, Riviera Maya and Punta Cana has soared after the renovations completed so we are extending this investment in upgrades at all of our properties,” said Jacques De Paep, Palladium Hotel Group’s commercial director for North America.

Palladium Hotels

Additional investment is being made at Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa and its neighbouring properties to upgrade them by the end of November 2017. Rodizio, the Brazilian steakhouse, will replace the current Hemingway Bar at Grand Palladium Bavaro Suites Resort & Spa. At Sumptuori Restaurant, additional teppanyaki tables will be installed. A new area will also be added that will be dedicated to the popular nikkei concept, which is a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisines. In addition, the interior of El Behique restaurant will be renovated to feature new, modern designs.

At Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa, the lobby and select guestrooms will be renovated with Caribbean designs. A new beach club will be added to the adults-only area of The Royal Suites Turquesa, which is inspired by the success of the beach club concept from Ibiza.

www.palladiumhotelgroup.com

Paris 'hot spot' for hotel investment

Paris revealed as number one ‘hot spot’ for hotel investment in Europe

960 477 Daniel Fountain

Paris has reached the top of Colliers International’s inaugural Hotel Investment Attractiveness Index, an analysis of the investment climate of 20 European cities, despite predictions that investors and tourists would lose faith in the city due to political uncertainty and the perceived threat following various national security breaches.

Paris’ lead ranking is due to its high demand growth, strong hotel performance, high investment returns and market depth from 2012-2016.

Dirk Bakker, Head of EMEA Hotels, Colliers International

Dirk Bakker, Head of EMEA Hotels, Colliers International

Dirk Bakker, Head of EMEA Hotels, Colliers International said: “Investors are regularly requiring the latest information on cities where they will receive high returns, which in a politically and economically uncertain world, is often difficult to predict. Our index provides us with something more than anecdotal evidence through which to advise our clients.

“According to our latest data, Paris scored highly in terms of valuation exit yields and hotel investment volume between 2007 and 2016. Paris also saw over 15 million international tourists visit the city in 2015 and witnessed average hotel occupancy levels of over 77 per cent from 2012-2016.”

The Colliers index uses twelve metric components, weighted to give each of the 20 locations a score of up to 400, including population; GDP per capital; total workforce; commuting workforce; tourist arrivals; room occupancy; Average Daily Rate (ADR); Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR); Land site prices; Building costs; Valuation exit yields and investment volumes. These scores were then consolidated into a single figure and ranked to show which markets are hot in terms of overall demand, their recent operating performance and how this ties into the attractiveness of each market with regards to the acquisition of existing hotels and for the development of new ones.

Here are some of the highlights:
• London and Barcelona came out as the second and third most interesting cities to invest in, closely followed by Amsterdam and Berlin.
• The story for the top two cities, London and Paris, is very similar, but Paris pips London to the top by virtue of having slightly lower development costs. Low development costs is one of the areas in which Barcelona excels, increasing the overall attractiveness of the city ahead of Amsterdam sitting in fourth place. In all other areas, these two cities have very similar performance ratings.
• At the other end of the scale, although the development cost component scores very highly for Bucharest, this is not enough to compensate for low demand appetite and the lack of a hotel investment market, so it has been ranked the lowest.
• Istanbul has been ranked relatively low at number 17, despite the size of the market, helping drive a good overall demand score and low development costs. However, the operational performance lags behind due to low occupancy rates, leading to lower returns on investment. The current political and economic climate is not particularly conducive to a robust investment market.
• Zürich is the most interesting city to watch out for in the future, as its operational performance has been excellent in the last few years, suggesting an under-supply of quality hotel stock. Hotel investment interest is high, and if demand for the city continues to increase, it may become one of the most popular cities for new development and investment, despite the high development costs.
• Manchester and Dublin also perform highly, where hotel performance exceeds demand. The case for an increase in business demand growth in both cities looks very strong in the coming years, which should increase their attractiveness to developers and investors alike.

Damian Harrington, Director Head of EMEA Research at Colliers International adds: “With the Hotel Investment Attractiveness Index, we were able to create a unique analysis of a very dynamic market. By combining the twelve variables, we can generate far more of an insight into the current hotel industry and even predict what could lie ahead.”

Low Wood Bay

£16 million investment for Windermere hotel Low Wood Bay

1000 628 Daniel Fountain

Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa is set for a brand-new look in 2017 with a major refurbishment and new build. English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues are set to establish a world-class resort in the Lake District, the idyllic lakeside destination closes its doors this week as work begins on the £16 million transformation, which will be unveiled from April when the hotel reopens its doors.

The multi-million pound project will see the existing historic property completely renovated, with a full upgrade and refurbishment of all existing rooms, new outdoor leisure facilities, along with a stunning Atrium, world class spa, and an additional new restaurant concept, “Blue Smoke”. Later in the summer a new building will open with a further 32 suites and studio rooms including its own club lounge and roof garden.

The hotel, which enjoys a fantastic waterfront setting looking out onto Windermere, will reopen in April 2017, once the first phase of the renovation is complete.

Simon Berry, Chairman and MD of English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues said: “It is a really exciting new chapter for us here at Low Wood Bay. This stunning building has been here for over 300 years and this will be the biggest change it has gone through in its history.

“The Lake District is a uniquely beautiful holiday destination and we’re creating an exceptional, stand-out resort from which to enjoy it. We want to make something truly special, bringing modern, top quality facilities to the area but without compromising the integrity or charm of this historic building; we really feel we have achieved that with these plans. We can’t wait to welcome our guests, both old and new, to see their reactions’.

English Lakes Hotel Resorts & Venues, which owns the property, has worked closely with the Lake District National Park Authority to progress the plans and create a ‘world class destination’ whilst remaining in keeping with the area and using local connections and expertise.

The whole new experience will start with the enhanced sense of arrival of the brand-new entrance which sweeps around and up to the existing car park. Bespoke art work will significantly improve the arrival experience for guests as they make their way to one of their 133 luxurious, upgraded and new build bedrooms and suites.

Set to open in summer, one of the most significant investments is in the luxurious Spa, complete with an outdoor heated infinity pool, sauna, steam room and Canadian hot tubs with views over the lake and mountains. The extensive fitness suite will also feature state of the art equipment and an express salon. The introduction of the innovative ‘Blue Smoke’ dining concept will provide British produce within a South American wood fired grill – the first of its kind in the area.

Opening later in the year, the addition of a luxury accommodation block, complete with its own private bar, club lounge and roof terrace will finally transform the hotel into the Lake District’s first world class luxury resort.

Hotel Chez Monnet, Cognac

Project Preview: Hotel Chais Monnet, Cognac

1000 562 Daniel Fountain

Far removed from the bustling streets of European metropolises like London or Paris – the usual investment hotspots for British entrepreneur Javad Marandi – sits the grandeur of Chais Monnet and its vast cellars in Cognac.

Built in the 19th century, this stunning site is nestled in the heart of this quaint and oh-so-French town, with its cellars from 1845 adding to its charm. Having originally been the childhood home of Jean Monnet, one of the founding fathers of the European Union, it has sat disused. Until now.

In a €60 million investment personally financed by Mr. Marandi, the site is being transformed into a 15,000m2 luxury hotel, spa, restaurant and retail boutique complex, offering a “modern take on traditional French luxe”. Being on the doorstep of some of the great cognac houses, it will be the first complex of its kind in the region.

And, at a recent stone-laying ceremony in October, Hotel Designs was able to see the plans first hand. Believe me, they’re impressive. The project will include:

A five-star hotel with 100 bedrooms and suites, 14 apartments, two restaurants, a jazz bar and lounge, a 400m2 conference room, four meeting rooms, and a pool/spa.
Six boutiques to be rented to French brand retailers
A cultural meeting place commemorating Jean-Gabriel Monnet’s life and achievements

Its importance to the area was emphasised in the opening presentation by Cognac mayor Michel Gourinchas, who himself played a key role in championing the project, one that he is confident will have a great economic impact on the town and its surroundings.

“Here in the town we’ve been waiting for this for a long time. Since I’ve become mayor, we’ve asked ourselves a number of times what we could do with this site and thanks to this work we’ll be able to see a reality of what’s possible in a way that’s in the best interests of our town, its inhabitants, and tourists who can now benefit from an excellent site, which is in parallel with cognac – an excellent product,” he proudly tells the gathered dignitaries and press.

Hotel Chez Monnet, Cognac

Didier Poignant, chief architect on the project, Michel Gourinchas, mayor of Cognac and Javad Marandi, businessman and investor in the project addressing the crowd

He’s not wrong. Cognac is a gorgeous microcosm of the effortlessly pretty aesthetics of western France. The historic cobbled streets, the perfectly-manicured gardens in its centre and traditional architecture lining the serene River Charente that runs through it all point to a life-less-rushed; beauty and tradition combined. Two things at the heart of the design of the Hotel Chais Monnet project.

When I ask Mr. Marandi if this is why he chose this particular spot to bring a hotel to market, as opposed to the major centres of business and commerce in which he usually operates, he agrees.

The centre of Cognac

The centre of Cognac

“I certainly have an affection for this region, for Cognac, and for the rich variety of local delicacies, but I also see a clear business opportunity. Cognac is a world famous upmarket product and the heritage of the Monnet family is another valued contribution to developing a hotel that will have all prerequisites to become a major success for this type of investment while being equally beneficial for the city and its community,” he says.

But looking at the plans and speaking with chief architect Didier Poignant of Ertim Architects in Paris, what strikes me most is how much modernity is being brought to the project – in particular the striking façade of the Les Ceps part of the complex. I wonder for a moment how the reaction from the local Cognaçais has been to this overt blending of the historic with the ultra-modern, but Didier puts my mind at rest as he describes his extensive work with Architectes des Bâtiments de France in preserving French heritage in architectural projects.

Likewise, Javad Marandi echoes his assurances, adding: “I have only had positive and complimentary feedback on the designs [by Didier and his team], which are very elegant and chic and are befitting of the location whilst preserving the brand heritage of both cognac and the Monnet family.”

The locale might certainly be a departure for Mr. Marandi. As he himself tells me, Cognac is still a secondary tourist location within France and yet France itself is one of the most visited destinations worldwide. But with the “raw material” as he calls it – the name of ‘Cognac’ – attached to the project, there can be little doubt that this little pocket of France will be put on the map as a premium, upmarket location. With plans in place and construction under way, that vision is well on the way to becoming a reality. In his closing remarks, the mayor speaks of his excitement and impatience to see the project finally come to fruition in the spring of 2018.

That makes two of us, monsieur le maire…

Based on a visit in October 2016
Photos: Daniel Fountain // Weber Shandwick

Red Planet Hotels

Red Planet Hotels accelerates Asian expansion through Goldman Sachs investment

999 578 Daniel Fountain

Red Planet Hotels, the fast-growing pan-Asian budget hotel chain has announced it has received $70 million (£53.7 million) from Goldman Sachs, the leading global investment bank.

Founded in 2010, Red Planet Hotels owns and operates a portfolio of 26 hotels in Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia. The funds from Goldman Sachs will facilitate the activation of a confirmed pipeline for 10 hotels to open over the next 24 months.

Red Planet Hotels Chief Executive Officer, Tim Hansing, said the investment would solidify the company’s current expansion roadmap and help to establish a basis to close a final round of private investor equity to support further expansion of the brand.

“We have a well-diversified portfolio over four countries, and have developed a highly systemised brand. We have also created a unique customer-facing IT platform that is without parallel in our market. We now have substantial growth opportunities not only in our existing markets but also in additional countries where we are confident our brand and product will excel,” Mr Hansing added.

“To have our company, our people, our product, and our brand be funded by Goldman Sachs indeed gives us the confidence that we are on the right track to our stated goal of a 2018 IPO.”

Since 2011 Red Planet Hotels has raised $240 million (£184 million) of capital and the funds from Goldman Sachs position the company well to complete its next and final pre-IPO round of capital raising amounting to $250 million (£192 million).