Briefs: London sees occupancy strength; Tristan Fund adds in Amsterdam

Highest occupancy at London hotels: The hotel industry in London recorded its highest monthly occupancy since February 2020, showed preliminary April 2022 data by STR.

  • Occupancy: 72%
  • ADR: £151.42 (US$186.67)
  • RevPAR: £108.98 (US$134.35)

Despite occupancy increasing month over month, it was still below 11% from the pre-pandemic comparable. The absolute ADR level was marginally lower than the last month but up above 6% from April 2019. London’s daily occupancy remained above 60% with the exception of April 18 (50.2%). The highest occupancy level was reported on April 26 (83.7%), while overall improvement in weekday levels indicated to a return of corporate demand.

Ruby Emma in Amsterdam

Tristan Fund acquires in Amsterdam: London-based Tristan Capital Partners’ EPISO 5 Fund has acquired the 288-key QO Hotel in Amsterdam for €92.1 million (US$97.09 million). The property will be rebranded to Ruby Emma and operated by Munich-based Ruby Group. As part of the rebranding process, the hotel’s facilities and public areas will be enhanced to include a restaurant/bar. The hotel currently features a rooftop greenhouse, a living façade and 1,600 fully responsive thermal panels. The 4-star hotel was among Europe’s first hotels to achieve LEED Platinum status. The fund was advised by Greenberg Traurig; PwC; Drees & Sommer; HVS; and Longevity Partners.

JW Marriott debut in Tokyo: Marriott International has signed an agreement with East Japan Railway Co. to introduce the JW Marriott brand to Tokyo. The JW Marriott Hotel Tokyo will be part of the Takanawa Gateway Urban Development project, JR East’s redevelopment of the earlier JR Shinagawa Depot Railway Yard and is slated to open in spring 2025. The hotel will consist of 200 rooms and suites and the interiors will be designed by Yabu Pushelberg. Consisting of five buildings, the mixed-use development will comprise residences, commercial facilities, conference and convention centers. The hotel will occupy the 22nd to 30th floors of the Station Complex Building (South). Marriott currently operates over 70 hotels in Japan across 18 brands.

Kempinski residences in Dubai: Kempinski announced the launch of Kempinski Residences The Creek, a collection of 285 apartments ranging from one- to four-bedrooms duplexes in Al Jaddaf on the banks of Dubai Creek in U.A.E. Kempinski has signed a management agreement with Swiss Property for the property with possession of the residences expected in late 2024. The property includes landscaped gardens, a swimming pool, paddle tennis, beach volleyball and basketball courts, gym and fitness center, a residents’ clubhouse and private cinema. The announcement of this projects follows the recent signing of Kempinski Floating Place. These two properties will join Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates and Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah to form a quartet of properties managed by Kempinski in the U.A.E.

IHCL grows Taj in India: Indian Hotels Co. Ltd. (IHCL), Mumbai, India, has opened the second Taj-branded hotel in Kolkata in eastern India. The 147-room Taj City Centre New Town is the second Taj-branded hotel in the city after 33 years. Consisting of 137 rooms and 10 suites, the hotel also features three dining venues, a spa and six banquet halls. The hotel, which operated as a Swissotel-branded property from 2010 to 2020, is owned by Kolkata-headquartered Ambuja Neotia Group. Harshvardhan Neotia, chairman of the Ambuja Neotia Group, said it took 15 months and roughly Rs. 80 to 90 crore (US$10.39-US$11.69 million) to convert the former business hotel to a Taj-branded luxury hotel. IHCL has entered into a partnership with Ambuja Neotia for six properties and aims to increase it to 10. The Taj City Centre New Town marks IHCL’s fourth hotel as part of this deal and sixth overall hotel in Kolkata across several brands, with one under development. A Ginger-branded hotel is expected to open within the next six to eight months close to the city’s airport, IHCL MD and CEO Puneet Chhatwal told HOTELS.

Viva Land’s record-breaking acquisition in Singapore: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam-based Viva Land has agreed to acquire the 134-key So/Singapore from Singapore-based Royal Group for S$240 million (US$173.09 million and US$1.29 million per key). The acquisition will reportedly initiate the process for a new integrated development in the city’s downtown area. The purchase price has reportedly set a new price-per-key record for a hotel in Singapore. The boutique hotel is located adjacent to the Robinson Point office tower which was also acquired by Viva Land for S$500 million (US$360.61 million) in 2020. The two properties combined will give the new owner a total of 3,260 square meters of commercial sites at the city center.

Accor to manage Queen Elizabeth 2: Accor announced the addition of cruise ship Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2), Dubai’s first and only floating hotel, to its management portfolio. Accor will take over operations from May and the cruise ship will undergo renovations and upgrades before joining the MGallery Hotel Collection. Once renovations are completed, the new MGallery Queen Elizabeth 2 will include 447 rooms, nine food and beverage venues, 10 meeting rooms, six retail outlets, 5,620 square meter area for outdoor events, a swimming pool and gym. Accor is collaborating with the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corp. (PCFC) Investments, a boutique private equity firm under the Dubai government. Currently, Accor operates 62 properties with a total of 18,562 keys in the U.A.E. with 20 properties in the pipeline.

Hawaii figures strengthen: Hawaii hotel segment strengthened with improving ADRs and occupancy rates, found the Hawaii Hotel Figures Q1 2022 report by CBRE. RevPAR increased 195.8% YOY from US$86.65 in Q1 221 to US$256.29 in Q1 2022, with ADR improving by 34.5% from US$269.3 in Q1 2021 to US$362.14 in Q1 2022. Occupancy rates jumped +3860 BPS from 32.2% to 70.8% in Q1 2022. Based on ADR, Maui continues to perform the best among all islands with an ADR of US$609.73 with its submarket Kaanapali/Lahaina/Kapalua at US$535.14. At US$405.48 and US$405.14, the next highest rates were in Kauai and the Big Island, respectively. The statewide ADR was US$269.30 in Q1 2021. In terms of occupancy, Kauai saw a major increase of +5060 BPS, which was followed by the submarket of Waiki on Oahu at +4080 BPS and the Big Osand at +4000 BPS. All the islands were above the national occupancy rate of 59.9%, with Kauai at 74.6% and the Big Island at 76.5%.

Grand Prix zooms up Melbourne rates: The hotel industry in Melbourne registered its highest monthly room rates on record, pushed by the Australian Grand Prix, according to STR’s preliminary April data.

  • Occupancy: 65.1%
  • ADR: A$238.3 (US$168.511)
  • RevPAR: A$155.14 (US$109.7)

The market’s occupancy level was its highest since February 2020, while RevPAR was at its peak since November 2019. In terms of daily data, the night prior to race day (April 9) saw the highest performance levels for the month: occupancy (89.2%), ADR (A$387.51/US$274.02) and RevPAR (A$345.68/US$244.44). The Grand Prix weekend (April 8-10) was the only time during the month when daily ADR was over A$300 (US$212.14).

Swiss-Belhotel’s EMEA expansion strategy: Swiss-Belhotel International, Hong Kong, announced plans to double its portfolio in the EMEA region by 2025, as part of its expansion plans in the region. The company said Africa has significant potential for its brands. Swiss-Belhotel is also expanding into the European market with deals for owners and investors and said it was receiving strong interest. The group opened three new properties during the pandemic.

Practice Hospitality adds in California: The 24-room Mojave Resort in the Coachella Valley enclave of Palm Desert, California, has appointed Dallas, Texas-based Practice Hospitality to oversee hotel operations and lead the property’s upcoming renovations. The renovations will see upgrades to the guest rooms, private courtyard, pool, spa and seating areas. Food and beverage offerings and amenities are also set to be added as part of the reimaging of the resort.