Recent hotel deals and news – The Hotel Property Team

Dev Anand, Managing Partner of The Hotel Property Team (THPT) explores the latest hotel sales and acquisitions and applies his 30 years of experience on current global developments.

AccorHotels continue its strategy of buying hotel after hotel, White City in London gets a new club from a proven player and there is a new addition to the UK hotel scene from a Singaporean business. Elsewhere ION are developing a £70m football scheme with hotel and the club whose founders include Charles Dickens plan international expansion. Explore all of this below.

ION Developments £70m football scheme and 150 room hotel

Cheshire County FA is joining forces with Cheshire West and Chester Council and ION Developments to work on a multi-million-pound plan to develop a world class centre for women and girls’ football complete with luxury hotel and spa. The world-class football facility will be built on a 60-acre site in Northwich in the heart of Cheshire. The new site will become a leading centre for women and girls football with a WSL 1 club in talks to become a partner on what will become a “best in class” football environment.

This is another good example of the sporting world and hospitality coming together. We have seen sportspeople (especially footballers) and other celebrities (Nobu) get into hotels. Leo Messi has two hotels, Manchester’s Neville and Giggs are on their third and Cristiano Ronaldo is also entering this realm. There’s also Andy Murray in Scotland and other celebrities include Francis Ford Coppola in Italy, Guatemala and Belize, Donatella Versace, Clint Eastwood, Bono and many more. In the Sunday Times top 1000 this year, it was amazing how many of the top 50 either made their money from hotels or bought hotels with their fortunes earned elsewhere!

Singaporean Buxani Group buys GoGlasgow Urban Hotel

A welcome new addition to the UK hotel scene from Singapore and Compass Hospitality have done well to manage 14 hotels in the UK as well as 31 hotels in six locations in Malaysia and Thailand. The deal was agreed off-market, but the guide price of the property was reported to be close to £10m. Thailand-based Compass Hospitality has been appointed to manage the hotel, which was redeveloped in 2015 by Crerar Hotels.

The Crerar Hotel Group strategy of 50% of distributing profit to charity is a very personal thing in the vein of Bill Gates and others. In 2015 Room to Reward charity urged hotels to donate unoccupied rooms to deserving individuals working with registered charities and by 2017 were aiming to donate £1m of hotel stays.  It will be interesting to see how this has developed three years on.

Soho House opens latest new hotel in old BBC TV Centre

This is the 19th club from founder and chief executive Nick Jones. The Soho House group now has outposts in Brooklyn, Amsterdam, Mumbai and Hong Kong plus New York, Istanbul, Berlin and Barcelona. More are planned for North American, Europe and Asia.

This latest addition is in the old BBC TV Centre in White City, London and includes 45 rooms, members club and rooftop pool. Each new House has its own membership committee and its own look, so it feels local and special. As the empire has grown American billionaire Ron Burkle owns 60 per cent of the business, Richard Caring 30 per cent and Jones 10 per cent.

The hotel industry has had its real innovators such as Charles Forte, Sebastien Bazin, Isadore Sharp, Ian Schrager, Steve Wynn, Robin Hutson, Adrian Zecha to name but a few…Nick Jones is certainly up there amongst them. The industry is still producing great innovators and even the major chains are finding new concepts – Moxy, Indigo, Tapestry – and quite often with “outside help” (Edition and Schrager).

Some may argue that White City isn’t the right London location but what was the movie – ‘If You Build It, They Will Come’! As an area of West London there is very little in the top end but Dorsett broke that mould with its property in Shepherds Bush and if anyone can make an impact, Soho House will.

Arts Club to expand outside of the UK

The private members club whose founders include Charles Dickens in planning to expand overseas and open its first sites outside London in a multi-million dollar investment. The Arts Club said it would be opening a 64,000 square foot members club in Dubai next year (2019), another site in Los Angeles, on Sunset Strip in West Hollywood the following year and planning to open a club near Canary Wharf, London, in 2020.

The original Arts Club in Dover Street has 16 rooms and suites. They offered accommodation back in 1863 when they opened in Hanover Square and even in 1896 when they moved to Dover Street, but the rooms were bombed in WWII in 1940 and were re-opened/rebuilt in 2015. If you think about the history of clubs – for the last two centuries we have had clubs, residential or otherwise where members enjoy meeting like-minded people… others include Home House, Army & Navy, Lansdowne, Royal Overseas League, St James.

AccorHotels strikes deal to buy Chile Hotel Group Atton

If it (doesn’t) move, Accor will buy it! As well as 11 hotels across Chile, Peru, Colombia and Florida in the United States, AccorHotels will also buy 20% of the property company that owns these assets, with the remaining 80% being bought by Chilean company Algeciras.

Shall we start playing a game soon… guess which hotel is not owned by Accor? But joking aside do they have the funds to continue this buying spree? I guess they must do and as long as they make wise buying decisions. The fast food/casual dining sector is dying, I believe, because they went number of location mad when it was booming, agreeing to rent deals that rational people wouldn’t!

London top-end hotels add 8,000 plus rooms each year and the sector seems to survive, although I have heard some five stars properties saying that this quarter they suffered a wee bit from the new competition. So it all comes down to the numbers… can I break-even at 70% occupancy with a realistic room rate/ADR?

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