Global hotel pulse: Europe news
Global hotel pulse: Europe news
09 JANUARY 2019 8:28 AM

In this roundup of news from Europe: LVMH buys Belmond; Apple Leisure becomes largest shareholder in Spain’s Alua Hotels; and more.

Hotel News Now each week features a news roundup from a different region of the world. This week’s compilation covers Europe.

Europe’s hotel obstacles and opportunities in 2019
Brexit will continue to engage—or bore—hoteliers at the beginning of 2019, as the United Kingdom’s divorce from the European Union is scheduled for 29 March, but other issues on hoteliers’ minds include tax and cost rises in Ireland and the opportunities arriving from a handful of cities being designated 2019 capitals of culture and capitals of smart tourism.

The big fear of Brexit is that no agreement will be concluded, either due to concerns from the EU or disagreements within the U.K. Parliament. In Ireland, the minimum wage has increased from the beginning of the year, as have taxes on hotel stays and restaurants, which have been moved up to 13.5%. As for those capitals of culture, look out for development and initiatives in Plovdiv, Bulgaria; Matera, Italy, and Helsinki, among others.

Alua Hotels sees new majority owner in Apple Leisure Group
Alua Hotels, a Spanish hotel firm based on the Balearic Islands and with a portfolio of 12 resorts and 4,000 rooms, saw a new majority stakeholder in American company Apple Leisure Group on 19 December, with the new investor seeking to expand Alua across other resort markets in Europe, and then globally, writes HNN senior reporter Terence Baker.

Javier Coll, Apple’s EVP and chief strategy officer, said the deal fast-forwarded the firm’s expansion in the continent and that Alua will become its reference for the midmarket sector.

“Alua properties range between 4 star-plus and 3 star-plus, and this fits perfectly with our strategy. … We have different brands in equivalent segments, but we only had Sunscape in 4-star so Alua and Amigo will give us more options in that level,” Coll added.

France’s LVMH buys Belmond for $2.6b
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE on 14 December agreed to buy hotel and travel company Belmond for $25 per share, representing an equity value of $2.6 billion and an enterprise value, with debt, of $3.2 billion, writes HNN’s Terence Baker. LVMH said it bought Belmond’s knowledge and expertise as much as it did, perhaps more so, its real estate.

Belmond’s portfolio consists of 34 hotels and approximately 3,100 keys in 17 countries, all of which are all owned but one. The assets of Belmond, which also run to interests in luxury trains, include the Belmond Hotel Cipriani, Venice; Belmond Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro; and Belmond Charleston Place in Charleston, South Carolina.

This is not LVMH’s first foray into the hotel world. In June 2011, it became the majority shareholder (76.12%) in fellow luxury goods firm Bvlgari S.p.A., which has a portfolio of six hotels and four in the pipeline under the Bulgari brand name.

Deutsche and Commerz partner in $250m hotel fund
German hotel group Deutsche Hospitality and Luxembourg-based CR Fund Management, known as Commerz, joined together to form a €250-million ($286.9 million) fund “to develop a risk-diversified portfolio of as many as eight 3- to 5-star hotels.” Parent company Steigenberger AG will contribute €12 million ($13.7 million), while external investors will add €92 million ($105.6 million) to the pot.

According to executives at both companies, the fund will develop assets across Deutsche’s portfolio, which includes brands Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts, Jaz in the City and Maxx by Steigenberger, which launched last March.

Deals and developments

  • Meininger Hotels, owned by Cox & Kings, has signed a hotel agreement for a 122-room, 442-bed hotel in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik. The asset is due to open in 2020.
  • London-based Orchard Street Investment Management in December bought two hotel assets in Newcastle, England, for a total price of £38 million ($48.5 million): the 120-room Travelodge Quayside and a 161-room Meliá, which is in development. According to the new owner, the “combined purchase price reflects a net initial yield of 4.50%.”
  • Spain’s NH Hotels has announced it will open a 190-room hotel, Nhow London, in the U.K. capital in the summer of 2019.
  • In December, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts opened the 187-room Hotel Indigo Manchester Victoria Station, right on the edge of the northern English city’s shopping, restaurants and arts district Northern Quarter. Interstate Hotels & Resorts will manage the property.
  • More Manchester news comes from Israel’s Fattal Hotels, which has agreed to acquire a planned 275-room hotel from developer Capital & Centric that it now plans to open in early 2021 under its Leonardo Hotels brand.
  • Cycas Hospitality has signed with developer Bricks Capital to manage the 196-room Courtyard London City Airport, which is due to open in 2020.
  • Radisson Hospitality AB will bring its brand Radisson Red to Vienna in 2021 with a property of 179 rooms.
  • In 2020, Dream Hotel Group will open Your Nature, an Unscripted Eco Resort by Dream Hotel Group in Antoing, Belgium. The 575-lodge asset will sit in a 700-acre forest close to the French border that has belonged to the family of the House of Ligne for more than 300 years.

Compiled by Terence Baker.

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