Xenia Hotels & Resorts divests two hotel properties
25 November | Business management
Xenia Hotels & Resorts has completed the divestment of two hotel properties as part of its efforts to strengthen its balance sheet.
The sale included the 245-room Hotel Commonwealth in Boston, Massachusetts for $113m, and the 492-room Renaissance Austin Hotel in Austin, Texas for $70m.
The company has also retained $6.6m in cash that was held in the properties’ Furniture, fixtures, and equipment reserves. Xenia chairman and CEO Marcel Verbaas said: “We are pleased to have completed both of these transactions in an efficient manner.
“Year-to-date, we have now sold four hotels for nearly $400m. These dispositions have allowed us to efficiently raise a significant amount of capital at a superior cost to other alternatives.
“Additionally, we have successfully increased our balance sheet flexibility to help position the company to be opportunistic as the recovery takes hold.”
The company plans to use the proceeds to reduce its debt as well as for general corporate purposes.
Overall, Xenia Hotels & Resorts owns 35 properties which include 10,012 rooms across 15 states.
An affiliate of The Axton Group bought the Renaissance Austin Hotel. The new owner plans to upgrade the public areas and meeting rooms of the hotel.
Axton founder and CEO Peter Oberndorf said: “It is now our responsibility to reposition and enhance this property, guiding it on a path of recovery and ultimately leaving it in a better place than we entered.”
24 November | Hotel openings
Accor to open 112 properties over two years in expanded MEA region
Hospitality group Accor is set to open 112 properties in the next two years in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, which now also includes India and Turkey.
Currently, the expanded region now features 400 hotels with more than 84,000 rooms. Once Accor opens the properties in the pipeline, the portfolio will include around 110,000 rooms, making it one of the largest international hospitality operators in the region.
Particularly, the company is expected to open 34 locations in the Middle East, 61 in Africa, 13 in Turkey and seven in India in the next 24 months.
Accor Middle East & Africa, Turkey and India CEO Mark Willis said: “Our expanded portfolio of more than 35 brands across the entire market spectrum – economy, midscale, upscale, and luxury – is a catalyst for growth in the region; it means we have a range of hospitality options for every project in every destination.
“The addition of Turkey and India to our already diverse region means that we will be able to consolidate the existing relationship and work that has been accomplished over the years and centralise it into a collective effort.
“It is in a strategic but natural move that we are integrating India and Turkey to our portfolio with long-term plans in sight for the future of the region.”
24 November | Hotel openings
Hyatt announces opening of Thompson Dallas in Texas
Hyatt Hotels has announced the opening of Thompson Dallas, a lifestyle hotel located in the historic building of The National in the US state of Texas.
The hotel reopened following the $460m restoration of The National, a George Dahl-designed building.
Thompson Dallas is the brand’s first property in Texas. It features 219 rooms including 52 suites, two penthouse suites and two restaurants.
The hotel also features a spa and fitness centre, which is set to open in January next year.
Other facilities will include a two-acre indoor and outdoor space, resort-style pool, an outdoor deck and bar, private cabanas, pet concierge and grooming centre among others. The hotel is designed by Caroline Todd of Todd Interiors and Cindy Zelazny of Interiors Limited. Merriman Anderson Architects also supported the interior design works.
Thompson Dallas general manager Steve Shern said: “Modern-day Dallas represents a global destination for culture, gastronomy and entertainment, and Thompson Dallas personifies the evocative spirit and refined edge of one of The Lone Star State’s most sophisticated cities.
“This is a historic moment for Dallas, and we are proud to welcome guests, World of Hyatt members, customers and the Dallas community to experience Thompson Hotels’ unparalleled guest experience.”
Established in 2001, Thompson Hotels is a boutique lifestyle hospitality brand of Hyatt Hotels. Earlier this year, the company opened 225-room Thompson Washington DC, its first property in the US capital.
23 November | Occupancy
Abu Dhabi reports increase in hotel occupancy in 2020 Q3
Abu Dhabi in the UAE has witnessed an increase in hotel occupancy in the third quarter as tourism sector registers growth in activity.
The revenue of the hotel sector in the emirate grew by 46% in the third three-month period of the year compared to the second quarter.
The guest numbers also increased by up to 95% in the same period, local news websites reported citing a Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) statement.
DCT Abu Dhabi acting undersecretary Saood Al Hosani was quoted by the news reports as saying: “Despite the profound disruptions caused by restrictions to public mobility, the positive indicators we have seen in the third quarter of this year are a testament to the agility and adaptability of Abu Dhabi’s tourism industry in response to the evolving market landscape.”
The statement also reported an increase in flight bookings and mall footfall, further indicating a gradual recovery in tourism sector.
The tourism sector was one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic with several governments implementing lockdowns and placing restriction on international travels.
However, the emirate undertook several steps to revive tourism in Abu Dhabi. The steps included the Go Safe Certification for hotels to regain customer confidence.
The programme was launched across all hotels in the emirate. In the third quarter, 93 hotels secured full certification, reported Gulf News.
23 November | Deals
Wheelock Street Capital acquires Hotel Contessa in Texas
Private real estate investment firm Wheelock Street Capital has acquired Hotel Contessa, an independent hotel located in the city of San Antonio, Texas, US.
Situated at 306 West Market Street, the 12-storey hotel features 265 rooms. It has 10,000ft2 function space, a rooftop pool, a full-service restaurant and bar, as well as a spa, among other facilities.
The property also offers direct access to several cultural destinations in the city.
With the acquisition now complete, Wheelock plans a complete overhaul of the ground floor restaurant and bar in the coming months.
HEI Hotels & Resorts, a national hotel operator, will take over the management responsibilities under Wheelock’s ownership.
Wheelock Street Capital Hotel Investments principal and director Tim Hodes said: “The property’s historically strong performance, superb location, and superior quality in a top leisure-driven market was a perfect match with our current acquisition criteria and provided us the conviction to execute during an uncertain time in the capital markets.
“We look forward to achieving success at another quality asset with our partners at HEI.”
Notably, this is Wheelock’s first hotel purchase since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is also the company’s first property in San Antonio market.
Founded in 2008, Wheelock focuses on real estate investment opportunities across the country. The company is said to have raised more than $4bn in capital commitments from institutional investors.
20 November | Hotel openings
Kimpton Hotels opens new property in Nebraska, US
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has announced the opening of the 205-room Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska, US.
The Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel, a $75m reinvention of the 1915 Blackstone Hotel, is the brand’s first hotel in Nebraska.
Global design firms LEO A DALY and DLR Group have renovated the property, which offers five food and beverage concepts, 13,500ft² of meetings and event space.
Other amenities offered include two grand ballrooms, a seasonal resort-style swimming pool and pool club, a solarium and a rooftop terrace.
The pool club has been programmed to create a dynamic, year-round social experience.
Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel is managed by hospitality company Pivot Hotels & Resorts and offers a personalised, social travel experience.
As part of the renovation, hand-carved terra cotta columns, a marble staircase, original tile and hardwood flooring, and all of the hotel’s 800-plus windows have been restored.
Guest rooms of the hotel, including 31 suites feature serene finishes, a warm colour palette and classic European Revival details.
The rooftop terraces and Schimmel ballroom are optimal for larger social and business events and the 300ft2 Fitzpatrick Boardroom is ideal for smaller gatherings.
Donohoe Hospitality adds three properties to portfolio
Donohoe Hospitality Services, a division of Donohoe, has announced the inclusion of three hotels to its portfolio. The newly added hotels are the 156-guest room Canopy Baltimore Harbor Point, Maryland; the 135 guest suite Homewood Suites by Hilton, Reston, Virginia, and the 214-guest room Hyatt Place Washington DC, US.
DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai M Square Hotel & Residences to open next month
Hilton has unveiled plans to open the 458-key DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai M Square Hotel & Residences next month. The property will be the company’s first five-star DoubleTree by Hilton-branded hotel in the emirate. Hilton already has three four-star DoubleTree by Hilton hotels in Dubai.
IHG’s upscale brand Hotel Indigo to debut in Kuala Lumpur
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is set to debut its boutique upscale brand Hotel Indigo in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The hospitality company signed a deal with Techvance Properties Management to bring the hotel brand to the Malaysian capital.Hotel Indigo Kuala Lumpur will be located at the base of the Bukit Nanas, near KL Tower and KL Forest Eco Park.
IntercityHotel opens second location in Austria
IntercityHotel, a Deutsche Hospitality brand, has opened its second location in Austria at the city of Graz.Located next to the main railway station of the city, the hotel was developed by GBI Company Group. It features 229 rooms spread over five floors, a restaurant, a BistroLounge, a Smokers’ Lounge and four conference rooms. The interiors of the hotel are designed by the Italian architect Matteo Thun.
UAE’s Sunset Hospitality Group to foray in hotel business
The UAE-based company Sunset Hospitality Group is set to foray in the hotel business with the brand METT Hotels & Resorts. The company is set to open its first property in Bodrum, Turkey, by early next year.METT portfolio will feature a series of lifestyle hotels and resorts inspired by Mediterranean living.
20 November | Deals
Hyatt, BCD reach franchise agreement for Banyan Cay Resort & Golf
A Hyatt affiliate and Banyan Cay Development have reached a franchise agreement for Banyan Cay Resort & Golf.
A Destination Hotel, Banyan Cay Resort & Golf will mark the first Destination Hotels property in Florida, US.
Slated to launch towards the end of next year, Banyan Cay Resort & Golf will also be the first full-service Hyatt-branded property in Palm Beach County.
Located near West Palm Beach International Airport, this 150-room hotel will feature 5,000ft2 spa and fitness centre, tennis pavilion and swimming pools.
It will also feature three food and beverage venues, including signature restaurants and golf clubhouse dining.
Additionally, it will include 10,000ft2 planned indoor meeting and events spaces that will allow guests to host private functions, conferences, and gatherings.
Banyan Cay Resort & Golf will also provide 22 private resort villas with services including daily housekeeping, room service, private kitchens and spacious living and dining areas.
Hyatt Americas development senior vice-president David Tarr said: “At Hyatt, we prioritise thoughtful growth in locations that matter most to our guests, World of Hyatt members and customers, and we are excited to introduce Hyatt’s high-quality and distinct experiences to West Palm Beach.
“We look forward to collaborating with Banyan Cay Development to expand the Destination Hotels brand footprint and provide travellers with a unique, upscale resort option.”
19 November | Hotel openings
Aimbridge Hospitality to add 120 hotels in 120 days
Global third-party hotel management company Aimbridge Hospitality has announced that it will add another 120 hotels to its portfolio.
The US-based firm said that it is on track to add the properties over a period of 120 days.
The move is part of the company’s expansion plan across the globe including in the US, Canada, Caribbean, the UK, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and Russia/CIS.
As part of the plan, Aimbridge Hospitality noted that year-to-date 128 properties have been added to its portfolio amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some of the newly added properties include Hilton Boston Downtown Faneuil Hall in Massachusetts; the Murieta Inn and Spa, and Element Ontario in California; Renaissance Charleston Historic District in South Carolina; Hyatt House/Hyatt Place Chicago in Illinois; and Courtyard Fort Lauderdale Beach in Florida.
Aimbridge Hospitality CEO Dave Johnson said: “We are pleased to have positioned ourselves for growth, and as we leverage our scale to add value, owners are responding by adding Aimbridge as managers.
“Our expertise and expansive scale bring a unique advantage to both the brands and our owners.”
In October 2019, Aimbridge Hospitality completed a merger with Interstate Hotels & Resorts. Its portfolio now includes more than 1,500 branded and independent properties in 49 states and 20 countries.