Briefs: IHG closes shop in Russia; 5th generation Wirths take over Hassler

IHG ceases operations in Russia: IHG announced it is continuing to cease all operations in Russia in tandem with the evolving sanction regimes of the U.K., the U.S. and EU and the ongoing challenges of operating there. After Russia invaded Ukraine, IHG announced the suspension of all future investments, new hotel openings and development activity in Russia and said it did not plan to resume development activity or investment there in the foreseeable future. The company also closed its corporate office in Moscow, donated to its humanitarian charity partners and worked with hoteliers in other countries to provide a shelter to refugees. On April 8, the company announced it had been in discussions with the owners of the 28 IHG-branded hotels in Russia pertaining to the complicated long-term management and franchise contracts under which the properties operate.

Veruschka Wirth and Roberto Wirth Jr.

Hassler in their DNA: The fifth generation of the Swiss hotelier Wirth family is taking over leadership of the famed Hassler in Rome with Roberto Wirth Jr. and Veruschka Wirth, twin children of Roberto E. Wirth, who recently passed away, introduced as executive chairman and CEO, respectively. They now oversee the entire Italian hotel brand, including four properties in addition to Hotel Hassler in Rome: Il Palazzetto also in Rome, Hotel Vannucci and Borgo Bastia Creti in Umbria and Parco del Principe in Tuscany. “We knew our destiny was here,” Roberto Jr. and Veruschka remarked. Their goals for the future: become increasingly green and sustainable with tangible actions and projects, to develop an exclusive spa inside Hotel Hassler and to recover a grotto, thanks to an extensive renovation, located inside the ancient walls overlooking Hotel Hassler’s inner garden.

Boscalt Hospitality acquires in Rome: Boscalt Hospitality, the Luxembourg-based hospitality fund, has acquired the 100-room Hotel Majestic in Rome. The hotel will undergo major renovations and will be repositioned into an ultra-luxury lifestyle property. Following the refurbishments, the hotel will comprise 83 bigger rooms along with new dining venues, while maintaining the building’s original architectural features. Designed by architect Gaetano Koch in 1889, the property has hosted several prominent celebrities over the years.

Cycas adds Marriott: Cycas Hospitality, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, has signed an agreement to take over management of the 161-room Bankside Hotel located in London’s South Bank. The hotel, to become part of Marriott International’s Autograph Collection, was acquired by Vertiq Capital. Cycas has appointed Zac Pearse as the hotel’s general manager of the boutique hotel which features seven suites, an all-day restaurant, private dining room, outdoor terrace area, four meeting rooms and a gym. The hotel also offers an artist-in-residence program in its gallery space at the ground floor.

InterContinental to debut in Albania: IHG Hotels & Resorts has signed a franchise agreement with Ram Geci, owner and president of Preci Group, to introduce in 2025 the InterContinental Hotels & Resorts brand in Albania with the new-build, 300-key InterContinental Tirana. Currently, InterContinental has 31 open properties in Europe and 79 in the pipeline globally.

Fairmont luxury residences in North Carolina: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, in partnership with real estate developer Gregg Covin, has signed definitive agreements for the development and management of luxury private branded residences in the Blue Ridge Mountain region of North Carolina. The Cedars Hotel in Hendersonville, North Carolina, will be reimagined as the 127-unit Fairmont Heritage Place – The Cedars, Hendersonville, and will open in 2025.  The hotel, which was originally built in 1914, was acquired by Clifton Shipman, great grandfather of Covin’s children, in 1976. The luxury residential community will span 3.55 acres and include the restoration of the original hotel. Two new six-story, mid-rise buildings will be built featuring studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom units and penthouses with terraces and mountain views. Residents and guests can access the nearby private club with the Tom Fazio-designed Champion Hills Golf Club. Residence owners will also be able to join the Accor Ownership Benefits Program, with the invitation to join the Diamond status in ALL-Accor Live Limitless program.

Pathfinder Hospitality adds 2 in Alabama: Pathfinder Hospitality, Austin, Texas, has added Holiday Inn Mobile-Downtown Historic District in Mobile, Alabama, and the Holiday Inn Express Fairhope-Point Clear in Fairhope, Alabama, to its management portfolio. The Holiday Inn Mobile-Downtown Historic District consists of 206 rooms, meeting space, a cocktail lounge and an outdoor pool. The Holiday Inn Express Fairhope-Point Clear comprises 87 rooms, 1,700 square feet of meeting space, a fitness center and an outdoor pool. The company has named Samantha Jackson as the general manager of the hotel. These additions mark the 11th and 12th properties managed by Pathfinder.