Briefs: Gencom, Mohari refi Papagayo; Hilton signs in Virginia

Big refi for Papagayo: A joint-venture affiliate of Gencom and Mohari Hospitality has closed a US$191 million refinancing package with Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies for the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica and Andaz Costa Rica with Peninsula Papagayo, along with other capital projects at the 1,400-acre master-planned resort and residential community which Gencom and Mohari Hospitality acquired in 2016. In addition to completing significant renovations to the Four Seasons and Andaz Costa Rica Resorts, Gencom and Mohari have also broken ground on a Ritz-Carlton Reserve that will open in late 2024. The new ultra-luxury development includes 107 keys and 36 branded villas and estate homes, which are already over 70% pre-sold. Mohari and Gencom will continue its ambitious plans for development across the peninsula including construction of beach clubs at both hotels, a new kids club, yoga deck, and several other exciting amenities. Lotus Capital Partners acted a financing advisor to Gencom and Mohari on this transaction.

Chartres buys in Manhattan: Chartres Lodging Group reportedly has acquired the 200-room Muse hotel in New York City for US$49.5 million from asset manager Barings, a subsidiary of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. The hotel was operating under IHG’s Kimpton brand, but since the deal closed it stopped managing the property. It is not clear what Chartres plans are for rebranding the property. Just recently, Barings acquired Watermark Capital’s leasehold on the Midtown Marriott in New York City for a reported US$73.7 million. 

Rendering of The Key, Arlington-Rosslyn at Arlington, Virginia

Hilton signs The Key at Arlington: Hilton has signed a franchise deal for the Hilton at The Key, Arlington-Rosslyn at Arlington, Virginia. The 331-key, 36-story hotel is part of The Key, a multi-use project which also features 517 luxury apartments, a destination restaurant and retail. On completion, the hotel will comprise 28,000 square feet of flexible meeting spaces, including event space on the top floor with views of Washington, D.C., the Potomac River and Arlington. The site has been part of the Dittmar Co. portfolio for over 50 years. The hotel building earlier housed a 307-key full-service hotel for over 50 years. The original hotel was demolished to construct the 1.3-million-square-foot The Key.

US performance update: Despite improved performance since the past week, weekly data through October 8 in U.S. posted mixed comparisons with 2019, according to STR.

  • Occupancy: 68.2% (-3.5%)
  • ADR: US$153.79 (+16.9%)
  • RevPAR: US$104.83 (+12.8%)

While weekday performance showed an expected decline due to Yom Kippur, school breaks and the extended holiday weekend drove levels on Friday and Saturday. Post-Hurricane Ian demand helped lift levels in Florida. Among the top 25 markets, Orlando saw the highest occupancy increase over 2019 (+1.9% to 73.6%). San Diego witnessed the largest ADR gain over 2019 (+39.3% to US$216.93). San Francisco was the only market to post an ADR drop (-17.7% to US$227.56). The steepest RevPAR declines were recorded in San Francisco (-32.5% to US$162.40) and Minneapolis (-14.5% to US$84.46).

USTA on increasing H-2B visas: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s recent announcement to provide an additional 65,000 H-2B temporary non-agricultural worker visas for the fiscal year FY23 is a “big win” for the travel industry, said the U.S. Travel Association. “After months of vociferous advocacy from the U.S. Travel Association, this announcement—the largest ever supplemental visa release—is a lifeline for an industry whose workforce shortage tops a million open positions. This will provide the travel industry with thousands of workers ahead of the peak travel season, allowing businesses to adequately prepare for a surge in demand,” CEO Geoff Freeman said. USTA thanked Secretary Mayorkas and the Biden administration for their response. As a “vocal advocate” for increasing the cap of H-2B visas, the USTA said it would continue to call on Congress to pass an exemption to the cap and enact a permanent expansion of the H-2B program.

Accor signs second Fairmont in India: Accor has expanded its luxury footprint in India by signing a deal with Udaipur, India-based Keystone Resorts Pvt. Ltd. to open Fairmont Udaipur in Udaipur, Rajasthan. This will be the second Fairmont in India, after the one in Rajasthan’s Jaipur. Scheduled to open in 2024, the 340-key property is spread across 16 acres and will feature more than 100,000 square feet of event space, multiple outdoor venues, recreational spaces, dining venues and a spa. The project expands Accor’s presence in India beyond its existing 56 properties under several brands. Six more properties in the pipeline are slated to open in 2023.

Development for Dubai i8 Hotel begins: Khobar, Saudi Arabia-based Arbah Capital and Strategic Housing Group said that development in Dubai has started on the first i8 Hotels property of the partners’ targeted US$500 million portfolio. Earlier this year, the two companies partnered to launch the region’s first integrated co-living residences and hybrid hotel concept under the Innov8 Living brand. Located in Dubai Internet City (DIC), the 256-key i8 Hotel at DIC is spread across 15,000 square meters and will offer co-working, social and entertainment spaces. The hotel is expected to open in 2024. The partners want to expand in the region and plan to develop hybrid hotels and co-living residences globally.

WTTC, Sustainability Hospitality Alliance align: The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for closer working, focusing and improving the environmental and social impact of the global hospitality industry. WTTC and the Alliance will promote a united voice for a more sustainable future for the industry, cooperating on new research ventures to foster an understanding of the latest in sustainability innovation. The organizations will also raise awareness of new initiatives and success stories, introduce new commissions and advisory bodies, further advance understanding of innovation and key sustainability indicators and partner on important issues like youth employability, climate action and human trafficking. Earlier, the organizations partnered on the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative.

Hoshino Resorts adds in Niseko: Japan’s Hoshino Resorts will open its ninth property — tentatively named Hoshinoya Lodge Niseko — in the skiing destination of Kutchan, Hokkaido. Construction is expected to begin in May 2023 with the opening scheduled in fall 2026. Designed by Azuma Architect & Associates, the residence hotel will offer 62 rooms and include a terrace on the top floor with an onsen pool. Each room will be sold to a unit owner, who can take part in the rental program. All rooms will feature a separate kitchen and a living-dining room with a “gathering service,” where ingredients pre-prepared by the chefs will be delivered to rooms where guests can finish preparation.

Canyon Partners invests in Charlotte Moxy: Canyon Partners Real Estate, Dallas, Texas, has provided a US$51.5 million senior loan to TMGOC Ventures, a partnership between The Montford Group and Opterra Capital, for the construction of a 208-room, 13-story Moxy Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Moxy Charlotte, which will open in September 2024, is Canyon’s second deal with TMGOC Ventures and the third Moxy Hotel financing. Moxy Charlotte will feature a rooftop terrace, Starbucks and a bar on the top floor. Aimbridge Hospitality will manage the property.

Portugal hotels, brands report: Hotels in Portugal have seen a sharp rise in performance, climbing close to the pre-pandemic levels, with international branded hotel supply far outperforming the national offer and showing the need for more diversification by local brands, according to the latest report by Horwath HTL. The ranking of brands and chains continues to be led by national players, similar to previous years’ trend, with Pestana Hotel Group and Vila Galé Hotéis as leaders. International brands increased by 26% compared to the 18% rise for national brands. Over the years, the gap is increasing in favor of the international supply. The high number of projects underway (over 70) will account for an increase in the supply of over 3,600 accommodation units. In terms of investment, 2022 is projected to be a record year for hotel investment with international groups becoming more significant.