Briefs: ARA H-Trust to divest 4 Hyatt hotels; Hilton, Hang Lung partner in China

ARA H-Trust to divest 4 Hyatt hotels: ARA US Hospitality Trust, Singapore, has entered into a purchase and sale agreement to sell a four-property portfolio of Hyatt Place hotels for US$32.5 million to New York-based Three Wall Capital. The total price of the four hotels — Hyatt Place Pittsburgh Cranberry in Pennsylvania, Hyatt Place Birmingham Inverness located in Alabama, Hyatt Place Cincinnati Northeast in Ohio and Hyatt Place Cleveland Independence in Ohio — represents a 3.2% premium over the last market valuation. ARA US Hospitality Trust said the four properties were non-core assets with declining historical performance and were ranked in the bottom quartile in terms of historical performance. The sale is expected to be completed in Q3 2022. Proceeds from the sale will be used to lower the bank debt or might be redeployed to acquire new assets.

Capella Hotels to Japan: Capella Hotels and Resorts will launch its first property in Japan with the 92-key Capella Kyoto, which will open in mid-2025. Designed by architect firm, Kengo Kuma and Associates, the two-basement, four-story hotel will include a Japanese garden courtyard, an internal multi-story rock garden which will serve as a pre-function area, spa, restaurant, a patisserie and a lobby bar. The hotel is being developed by Tokyo-based NTT Urban Development Corp. and is built on the site of the former Shindo Elementary School.

Artist’s rendering of the Curio Collection by Hilton-branded hotel in Wuxi, China

Hilton, Hang Lung partner in China: Hang Lung Properties, Hong Kong, has appointed Hilton as the hotel management partner of the new-build lifestyle boutique hotel at Center 66 in Wuxi, China. The hotel will be a part of Curio Collection by Hilton-branded property and is expected to open in Q2 2024. The 106-key, seven-story hotel will be located adjacent to a three-story heritage building. The heritage building was the former residence of local historical personality, Zhang Xiaocheng. The hotel will include a lobby lounge, two restaurants, a bespoke event space, fitness center and an indoor pool. The hotel’s interior design is being led by White Jacket, Singapore. The hotel will form an important part of the second phase of development of Center 66, which is set to be the retail and commercial part of the two-phased project.

Fort Partners acquires in Rome: Fort Partners Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico, has acquired the Palazzo Marini (3-4) in Rome for €165 million (US$172.13 million), with plans to develop the property into a luxury hotel which will be managed by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Fort Partners, led by CEO and founder Nadim Ashi, plans to redevelop the historic hotel keeping in mind the building’s architectural significance.

IHG signs Holiday Inn in India: IHG Hotels & Resorts has signed a management agreement with Oriental Structural Engineers Pvt. Ltd. to develop a new Holiday Inn hotel, the Holiday Inn Gurgaon NH 8 in the NCR region in northern India. The NH8 highway connects Delhi airport to Gurgaon. The 139-key new-build hotel is slated to open by Q1 2025. The hotel will offer an all-day dining and bar, lobby lounge, gym, a swimming pool and 400 square meters of banquet space. Currently, IHG has 44 hotels operating across five brands in SWA and a pipeline of 47 hotels set to open in the next two-three years.

Barcelo, Dorint align: DHI Dorint Hospitality & Innovation, Cologne, Germany has entered into a joint distribution agreement with Spain-based Barcelo Hotel Group. Both the companies are growing their market areas through mutual marketing in their respective business areas. The alliance is expected to increase visibility of both groups’ hotels across distribution channels. Dorint’s hotels in the DACH region can now be booked from the Barcelo website and distribution channels, while Barcelo hotels in Spain, Tunisia, the U.A.E, the Dominican Republic and Mexico can now be booked through Dorint’s website and distribution channels. Currently, Dorint manages 65 properties in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

US hotel industry performance study: Hotel wage growth across the U.S. continues to outperform retail wage rises, while growth in ADR will outpace wage inflation, revealed CBRE’s latest U.S. Hotels State of the Union report. Macroeconomic headwinds and leading indicators indicate an increased risk to the latter half of 2022 and 2023. However, overall fundamentals till date continue to outperform 2019, the report said. In May, the pace of international travel recovery marginally slowed in the east but continued to improve in the west. Countries in Europe and South America continued to feature among the top 10 border entrants. Despite the improvements in occupancy and ADR, recovery of RevPAR continued to be fueled primarily by growth in ADR. While recent hotel performance has remained strong, the overall RevPAR continued to surpass 2019 levels in May with interstate, small town, resort hotels and suburbs surpassing 2019 figures. Airport and urban hotels stayed below 2019 levels. Despite gross operating margins staying much ahead of 2021 levels, higher inflation might be restricting margin expansion. Supply outlook continues to face headwinds due to labor crunch, wage pressures and supply chain problems. Lodging delinquency and CMBS special servicing rates improved, along with revenues.

UK hotel group offers 14% pay hike: The Eden Hotel Collection, the U.K.-based boutique hotel group, has given its employees a pay hike of up to 14% to cope with the surging cost-of-living conditions and recruitment challenges. The group announced the second of the two rises within a span of six months for over 350 employees in the U.K. With hotels in Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Devon and Worcestershire, the group said the pay hike was given keeping mind the cost-of-living inflation, the highest level in the country in the past 40 years and to ensure the pay is competitive at a time when the hospitality sector faces difficulties in recruitment. The company will launch a new Employee Wellbeing Strategy in August, which will include information sessions and a broad focus on employee brand and experience for employees, with the first focus on financial wellbeing to support cost-of-living challenges.

Inaugural Fusion Originals to open in Vietnam: Fusion, the Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam-based hotel group, announced that the inaugural Fusion Originals-branded property, Fusion Original Saigon Centre, will open in Ho Chi Minh City later this month. The 99-room, 10-story hotel includes a restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool, garden area and a lounge. Fusion Originals is one of the eight brands that Fusion controls. Fusion is exploring more locations in Vietnam to grow its Fusion Originals brand. The company recently added Thai-based Glow Hotels & Resorts to its portfolio. With the opening of the new hotel in Ho Chi Minh City and the Glow acquisition, Fusion has over 4,000 rooms across Vietnam and Thailand.

Araiya signs golf resort in India: Araiya Hotels & Resorts, Mumbai, India, has signed a management agreement with Ahmedabad, India-based real estate developer, BSafal, to launch Essence by Araiya, Glade One Golf Resort in Ahmedabad. The golf resort at the 380-acre estate is expected to open in October. Spanning nine acres, Essence by Araiya, Glade One Golf Resort will feature 24 boutique villas with balconies offering views of the Gary Player-designed golf course, a spa, gym, club, all-day dining restaurant, two event laws, poolside café and a 5,000 square feet banquet hall. This is the second Araiya property to open in India and the first Essence by Araiya property.

Coaching Inn group acquires Forest Park Hotel: Savills, on behalf of private individuals, has completed the sale of Forest Park Hotel in Brockenhurst, England, to The Coaching Inn Group, a subsidiary of London-based RedCat Pub Co., an investment vehicle chaired and founded by Rooney Anand to invest in the U.K.’s pub segment, at an undisclosed price. The Country Hotel and Inn is located in New Forest with 40 en suite bedrooms. The hotel sold after a confidential and competitive marketing process.