Briefs: GIC could acquire Japan’s Prince; Aprirose expands outside London

GIC expected to acquire assets in Japan: Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC is close to finalizing a US$1.3 billion deal to acquire approximately 30 hospitality assets (hotels, resorts and golf courses) that sit under the Prince brand from Tokyo-based railway operator Seibu Holdings. GIC reportedly beat out a shortlist of potential buyers that included Blackstone and Softbank-backed Fortress Investment Group. Seibu has predicted that its operations would lose Japanese yen 14 billion (US$121 million) for the 12 months ending March 31, 2022, to mark its second straight year of losses. The Seibu hospitality portfolio includes the 33-story Prince Park Tower Tokyo hotel, the 587-room Prince Hotel Sapporo hotel and the 510-room Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima.

Selsdon Park Hotel in Surrey, England

Aprirose expands outside London: London-based real estate investor Aprirose acquired from De Vere Hotels for an undisclosed sum the Selsdon Park Hotel in Surrey, England. The 200-acre parkland estate currently incorporates a 150-room hotel, meeting and conference facilities, a range of dining amenities, as well as an 18-hole golf course. Aprirose’s dedicated platform for owned and operated hotels currently manages 21 properties under brands such Delta Hotels by Marriott, Double Tree by Hilton and the Qhotels portfolio, which comprises 19 country house, hotel and spa assets. In 2018 Aprirose also invested in a separate lifestyle concept, Birch, and has continued to support its growth.

Marriott milestone in Asia Pac: Marriott International reports it is targeting late this year its 1,000th opening in Asia Pacific. Last year, Marriott signed two new development deals a week in the region on average, with deals signed in 13 different markets. Greater China accounts for more than half of the company’s anticipated luxury openings in Asia Pacific in 2022. Ritz-Carlton Reserve will debut its first rare estate in the historic Jiuzhaigou valley. Additional expected luxury openings in 2022 include JW Marriott Hotel Changsha and the W Macau – Studio City. In South Korea, the JW Marriott Jeju Resort & Spa opens in May. The expected opening of W Sydney in late 2022 will mark the third W hotel in Australia. Westin Hotels & Resorts is expected to debut in Yokohama, Japan, and Cam Ranh, Vietnam. Back in China, Four Points by Sheraton has five planned openings in 2022, while Moxy Hotels will open in Suzhou and Xi’an. The AC Hotels brand will debut in Seoul and Melbourne. In Japan, Fairfield by Marriott expects to add six new properties.

Nazarian’s ghost kitchen model expands: Sam Nazarian’s C3 (Creating Culinary Communities) has partnered with the Highgate-managed Westin Las Vegas Hotel & Spa to assume daily operations of in-room dining and local deliveries. With its virtual restaurant brands and shared kitchen models, C3 is also expanding its partnership with the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, giving the company contracts with nearly 75,000 hotel rooms. It also works with Graduate Hotels, SLS Baha Mar in the Bahamas, and SLS Dubai. C3 has more than 800 virtual kitchen locations across the U.S. and a roster of more than 40 culinary brands. To date, it has served over 2.3 million meals.

UK bookings booming: New ForwardKeys data suggests that flight bookings to and from the U.K. have soared following the January 24 government’s announcement that COVID-19 testing would no longer be required for fully vaccinated travelers entering the U.K. Combined inbound and outbound flight bookings jumped to 84% of pre-pandemic (2019) levels, outbound to 106% and inbound to 47%.

Easier for Brazilians to visit US: Brazil and its citizens now have full partnership in the Global Entry program, which will ease travel to the United States for business and tourism. It will provide pre-approved travelers from Brazil with an expedited Customs process upon arrival in the U.S. “While this is welcome news, the Biden administration must also address the ongoing visa processing issues in Brazil and around the world,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “On average, visitor visa wait times in Brazil are 233 days. Pre-pandemic, Brazil was the fifth-largest overseas inbound market, and it is crucial that visa processing fully resumes so we can restore this critical source market.”