Briefs: HHM to integrate Urgo Hotels; Primestar expands to Austria

HHM to integrate Urgo Hotels: HHM, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has signed a deal to acquire Urgo Hotels & Resorts, Bethesda, Maryland. With Urgo becoming a fully owned subsidiary of HHM, the combined entity will operate more than 235 hotels across North America, with HHM expanding into Canada, launching into new markets in the U.S. and adding mountain leisure, development, and condo-hotel management capabilities. Urgo’s founding members will become shareholders of HHM, who earlier this year purchased 25 long-term management agreements from White Lodging. Urgo’s Canadian leadership team will continue to manage 17 properties in Quebec, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland. Urgo’s leadership team in the U.S. will continue to manage 34 properties, which will grow HHM’s portfolio in key gateway markets like South Florida and Washington D.C., while building in new leisure markets like Big Sky, Lake Placid, Breckenridge, and Sonoma Valley. Don Urgo Jr. will serve as Urgo’s managing director and maintain offices in Greater Washington D.C., while Serge Primeau will continue to lead the company’s Canadian operations based in Montreal.

Primestar expands to Austria: Primestar Group, Berlin, Germany, will debut in Austria in 2024 with the 358-room Hampton by Hilton Vienna City West. Primestar Hospitality GmbH and Hilton have signed a franchise agreement for the hotel, which is slated to be the largest Hampton by Hilton property in Europe. Construction will begin this June. Primestar currently operates five Hampton by Hilton properties in Germany and operates 14 franchise hotels across major cities in Germany. The current franchise portfolio consists of 3,334 rooms in German destinations. In the long-term, Primestar is planning to grow its franchise segment to at least 20 hotels with institutional partners.

Rendering of the Hampton by Hilton Vienna City West in Vienna

IHG marks 6,000 hotels milestone: In celebration of 6,000 open hotels, IHG Hotels & Resorts is launching the 6,000 Club and has announced partnerships with major sports and entertainment events. The 6,000 Club includes a collection of recently-opened hotels from IHG’s portfolio of 17 brands. IHG plans to grow its portfolio by an additional 30% with over 1,800 hotels already signed in its development pipeline. The company has also announced a series of multi-year sports and entertainment partnerships for members of IHG One Rewards, its loyalty program.

HOS, Hawkeye sell 3 worth US$100 million: HOS Management, Pooler, Georgia, and Hawkeye Hotels, Coralville, Iowa, have completed the disposition of three hotels in Savannah, Georgia, worth US$100 million. The properties include the Aloft Savannah Airport, Aloft Historic District and Fairfield Inn & Suites Downtown Savannah Historic District. While the Aloft Savannah Airport was acquired by Charleston. South Carolina-based The Montford Group and Boca Raton, Florida-based Opterra Capital, the Aloft Historic District and Fairfield were purchased by Mission Hill, Denver, Colorado, and KSL Capital Partners, Denver. The individual purchase prices amounts for each property has not been disclosed. All three assets were developed by HOS and Hawkeye in the past 24 months. Combined. Hawkeye and HOS have more than 40 properties in the pipeline with over a dozen starting construction this year.

Experimental Group acquires in France: The Experimental Group, Paris, France, has acquired two hotels — Le Regina and Le Garage — in Biarritz on southwestern France’s Basque coast. The company continues to expand across Europe and the U.S., following the announcement of an investment of €350 million (US$374.07 million). The 72-room Regina Hotel & Spa features a Belle Epoque-style building and offers a restaurant and bar, spa and an outdoor swimming pool. The 27-room Le Garage next door was a former classic car garage which was transformed into a boutique hotel in 2021. Experimental Group will refurbish both the properties and relaunch them within its portfolio. The hotels will continue to operate until the relaunch.

Record number of applications for Israel hotels: A total of 107 entrepreneurs have applied to the Investment Administration in the Israel Ministry of Tourism seeking grants to build and expand hotels. The ministry has earmarked NIS165 million (US$49.36 million) in grants to support plans for the establishment. The ministry received 70 applications in the building permit track, 22 requests as part of the a track to restore buildings and convert buildings to hotels and 15 applications in the implementation track by companies who already possess a building permit. Before the pandemic, the tourism industry’s annual contribution to Israel’s economy was NIS40 billion (US$11.96 billion).