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Hotel News In Brief
Aug 30, 06 | 7:46 am
Millennium Hotel St. Louis is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the building of St. Louis' internationally famous Gateway Arch with a special package. Priced starting at $139, the "Gateway Arch 40th Celebration" package includes: accommodations, breakfast for two, a keepsake pin and two tickets for the tram ride to the top of the arch. There's also a movie to see about the history of this all-American symbol. The package is valid through Dec. 30 and subject to availability.
Hotel operator Eight Hotels has acquired the management rights to the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Melbourne's St Kilda and flagged an overseas expansion. Eight Hotels owner Paul Fischmann said the recently refurbished 86-room hotel, which is owned by the Meydan family, would continue to operate under its existing name. Mr Fischmann said the group was negotiating the purchase of the management rights to a proposed hotel in London's Camden Town, which would be the group's first offshore play. Eight Hotels will open new hotels in Sydney and Canberra next year, with those hotels expected to be completed by June. The Canberra hotel will include 75 rooms and managed under the group's Diamant brand.
Hong Kong's Li Family Checks Out Of Its Australian Carlton Hotel Portfolio It is understood the group will offer its hotels in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Parramatta for sale one line. The jewel in the crown of the portfolio is believed to be Brisbane's largest hotel, the 431-room Carlton Crest, which could potentially fetch up to US$76.6 million. The offering will follow the US$62 million sale of the group's five-star Carlton Hotel in Auckland to Abacus Property Group in June. Abacus and Thakral Holdings are believed to be among the groups approached by the vendor's representative, but neither would comment. The Li family has undertaken "multi-million-dollar" refurbishments of its Carlton Crest Hotels in Sydney and Melbourne in recent years. The four-star Carlton Crest Hotel Sydney has 251 rooms and is located at Ultimo, just south of Sydney's Central Business District.
Tibet Moves To Cope With Tourism Boom Vantage Hospitality has set up two joint venture membership hotel chains in China -- Chinas Best Value Inn and The Lexington Collection. The membership model aims to be an affordable alternative to franchising. Hotel owners pay a flat, monthly fee based on their number of rooms and have short-term contracts and no royalties, Vantage said in a statement. Owners also choose how they present their properties rather than having to adhere to a model. "The timing couldn't be better to introduce these hotels in China given our unique membership model that allows owners to tailor their individual hotels to the needs of their guests," said Vantage CEO Roger Bloss. Vantage Hospitality, headquartered in Coral Springs, Florida, is the 12th largest hotel company in the world.
Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) decided in February that it wanted to sell Great Southern Hotels. Buyers for seven of the eight hotels in the Republic of Ireland have been found and deals involving three separate sets of purchasers should be concluded by the end of next month. DAA expects to realise more than €265 million from the sale. Irish development firm Edward Holdings has acquired the hotel in Killarney, and the two in Co. Galway. Spentor, a company controlled by Bernard McNamara, chose the Parknasilla hotel in Co. Kerry. The hotels at three airports (Dublin, Shannon and Cork) were the fancy of a company controlled by Ronan and Frank McArdle, the Walsh brothers and Alan McIntosh. DAA is confident that a buyer will be found soon for the hotel in Rosslare. The ninth hotel in the chain – the solitary property over the border in Northern Ireland – was sold to the existing shareholders, who took the 25% stake held by Great Southern Hotels in the City Hotel, in Londonderry.
The Times reports that Gulshan Bhatia is one of several parties interested in acquiring the Conrad London, which forms part of a mixed-use development on Chelsea Harbour in southwest London. Mrs Bhatia, who owns the Hilton London Paddington, is one of Britain’s wealthiest women and is therefore unlikely to balk at the figure of at least £50 million that bank Lloyds TSB is said to be asking for the 160-suite hotel.
Choice Hotels Europe has reinforced its presence in France by opening two hotels in the central region of the country and one in the capital Paris. The Parisian property is the 55-room, three-star Quality Hotel Michel Montparnasse. South of Paris is the town of Vierzon, where the 41-room Comfort Hotel Vierzon is open for business. Farther south still is the 40-room Comfort Hotel Montluçon, which has set up home in the town of Saint-Victor.
Shenzhen facing room glut Supply is outstripping demand in Shenzhen's hotel industry, according to a study by the city authorities. Room rates, occupancy rates and revenues are relatively low and industry insiders have attributed this to an imbalance between demand and supply, China Securities News reported. There are 500 star-rated hotels in Shenzhen, of which 40 are ranked above four stars. The average room rate in 2005 was RMB326 (US$41), while average occupancy was just 62 per cent. Room supply is expected to increase with the number of four- and five-star hotels doubling in the next two years. New entrants include international brands such as Hilton, Sheraton, Kempinski, Marriott and Accor; as well as domestic brands such as Jin Jiang. According to data from the Shenzhen tourism bureau, visitor arrivals grew only 5.75 per cent last year compared to 2004, far below the rate of increase in hotel rooms.
Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc. announced that the company has signed an agreement with Pyramid Hotel Opportunity Venture II LLC, to sell the Hilton Burbank Airport in Burbank, California, for $125 million, or $256,000 per room. The 488-room property was projected to contribute approximately $10.1 million in EBITDA in 2006, resulting in a 12.4x EBITDA multiple on the sale. The transaction, subject to customary closing conditions, is anticipated to close in September 2006.
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