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Briefs: Marriott grows in Vietnam; Park Hyatt returns to South Africa

Marriott, Vinpearl partner: Marriott International has announced a strategic agreement with Vietnamese hospitality and leisure chain, Vinpearl, to develop and convert 2,200 rooms in eight hotels across Vietnam. The partnership will see the debut of the Autograph Collection Hotels brand in Vietnam, along with planned openings of Marriott Hotels, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, and Four Points by Sheraton. Out of the eight hotels, six are conversions that will be part of Marriott’s system later this year. The Sheraton Vinh and Four Points by Sheraton Ha Giang are new build hotels and will open in 2025. Marriott operates 10 properties across Vietnam and aims to quadruple its presence there.

Rendering of interiors of Park Hyatt Johannesburg

Park Hyatt returns to South Africa: Hyatt Hotels Corp. has entered into a management agreement with a unit of the Millat Group for the Winston Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa, to join the Hyatt portfolio as an affiliated hotel. After undergoing extensive renovations, the 30-room hotel will be rebranded to Park Hyatt Johannesburg in early 2023, marking the return of the brand to South Africa. Refurbishments will be led by global designer Yabu Pushelberg. This will mark the fourth collaboration between Hyatt and Millat Group in South Africa. Hyatt’s portfolio currently comprises 13 hotels in South Africa.

Park Hotels sells in Seattle, JV stake in San Diego: Park Hotels & Resorts, Tysons, Virginia, has completed the sale of the 195-key Homewood Suites by Hilton Seattle Convention Center Pike Street in Seattle, Washington. The company also sold its 25% joint venture stake in the 1,190-room Hilton San Diego Bayfront in San Diego, California. The two deals result in combined proceeds of US$237 million. This includes the company’s US$55 million pro-rata share of secured debt in the San Diego property. Park Hotels will use the proceeds of the sale for general corporate needs. The combined sale price marks a 6.3% capitalization rate on the 2019 net operating income. Currently, the company has another non-core hotel under contract for US$9.4 million.

Pebblebrook acquires resort in Newport: Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, Bethesda, Maryland, has acquired the 257-key Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina in Newport, Rhode Island, for US$174 million. Pebblebrook financed the purchase with cash on hand and proceeds from its senior unsecured revolving credit facility. With this acquisition, Pebblebrook’s portfolio consists of 55 properties, including 13 drive-to, independent lifestyle resorts. The waterside resort will become part of Curator Hotel & Resort Collection. Pebblebrook is planning to undertake operating and physical upgrades, including full renovation of guest rooms and bathrooms, enhancement of the lobby, arrival experience and landscaping and refurbishing the restaurants and bars, the addition of a market, relocating/enhancing the spa and adding new amenities and guest activities. Pebblebrook has also acquired the rights to purchase the nearby marina in 2027. The property generated a total RevPAR of US$401, hotel EBITDA of US$13.6 million and hotel net operating income after a 4% capital reserve of US$12.1 million, according to the estimated May 2022 trailing-12-month performance.

Blackstone finalizes acquisition of Crown Resorts: Real estate funds and private equity funds managed by Blackstone have completed the acquisition of Crown Resorts Ltd. in Australia. The transaction, which Blackstone’s largest one so far in Asia Pacific, consists of three premium casino and resort properties in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne. Crown’s main business comprises two of Australia’s major integrated resorts — Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth and Sydney’s latest hotel resort at Crown Sydney.

Mövenpick debuts in Serbia: Accor has signed a new flagship Mövenpick hotel in Vrdnik, Serbia. Accor will introduce the brand to the country in a franchise agreement with Promont Group doo, Novi Sad, Servia. The 201-key Mövenpick Fruške Terme Resort & Spa will open by the end of the year and is a conversion of an existing hotel which opened in December 2019. The hotel includes Serbia’s largest water park, spa park and the biggest resort conference center. Mövenpick currently has over 110 properties globally and 50 additional planned by 2025.

Invesco Real Estate acquires 3 in Europe: Invesco Real Estate, Atlanta, Georgia, has acquired three hotels in Spain and the Netherlands — Holiday Inn Express The Hague, Hotel Occidental 1929 Barcelona and Vinni Seleccion Malaga — for €100 million (US$105.31 million). The 123-key Holiday Inn Express The Hague is an upper-midscale hotel which is leased for 44 more years to Westmont Hospitality, Invesco’s long-term partner. Invesco said the restrictions on new supply in Barcelona is expected to help in faster market recovery compared to other destinations.

Joussen resigns as TUI CEO: Friedrich Joussen, the CEO of German travel operator TUI AG, has resigned from his post effective September 30. Joussen will be replaced by Sebastien Ebel, the company’s CFO. Joussen’s resignation comes after he said last month that TUI would pay off €1 billion (US$1.05 billion) of government assistance that helped stay afloat during the pandemic using proceeds from a share sale. Since his task was completed, Joussen said he felt comfortable stepping down as TUI was no longer using credit lines and had a high level of liquidity. Ebel will be succeeded by Mathias Kiep, the current group director, investor relations.

Lion Quays Hotels acquires in Suffolk: Savills and H.M.H. Golf & Leisure, joint agents on behalf of a private client, have completed the freehold sale of the Ufford Park Hotel Golf & Spa in Woodbridge in Suffolk, England, to the U.K.-based Lion Quays Hotels for an undisclosed price. The property, which was owned by the former owner for more than two decades, has been developed into a premier hotel and golf course in East Anglia. The property is spread across 119 acres, with the main hotel and golf clubhouse consisting of 90 en-suite rooms.

Aviva Investors acquires in Dublin: Aviva Investors, London, on behalf of its European Real Estate Long Income Fund, has acquired a hotel building in Dublin, Ireland, for an undisclosed amount. Construction of the hotel is expected to be finished by the year end. The property is let to Premier Inn under a long-term lease. Aviva will be partnering with Columbia, South Carolina-based Red Rock Developments to deliver the project.

Park Hotel Management director sued: Park Hotel CQ (PHCQ) and its liquidators have sued Park Hotel Management Director Allen Law Ching Hung over S$6.5 million (US$4.67 million) in funds that were transferred out of Park Hotel Management. Law was the only director of PHCQ, which is wholly owned by Park Hotel Management, from April 2, 2013 to March 16, 2021 when he quit as the director. He was succeeded by Lim Kang-Ling, the former general manager of the Park Hotel Clarke Quay, who was appointed as the sole director on the same day Law resigned. Singapore High Court in November 2021 ruled that PHCQ be wound after it failed to pay its debts worth S$6.3 million (US$4.53 million), most of which stemmed from the payments owed to Ascendas Hospitality REIT, the landlord of the former Park Hotel Clarke Quay. PHCQ had allegedly transferred S$4 million (US$2.87 million) to Park Hotel Management in two installments — S$2 million (US$1.43 million) each in December 2020 and January 2021. The liquidators also claimed to have found withdrawals of S$2.5 million (US$1.79 million) from PCHQ’s bank accounts.

Call for reduced hotel quarantine in Hong Kong: Business leaders and lawmakers in Hong Kong have called for reducing the hotel quarantine period for inbound travelers from the current seven to three days, after incoming leader John Lee Ka-chiu said he was considering introducing interim measures to reopen the city’s borders. A business leader also sought the gradual resumption of exchanges with mainland China, beginning with some cities based in the south. Incoming health minister Dr. Lo Chung-mau said he was thinking of cutting the hotel quarantine period to five days. Any further reduction in the quarantine period would be combined with other requirements, like self-isolation at home or point-to-point travel. Inbound travelers may also be allowed to isolate at home, as part of the bigger policy to reopen borders to both mainland China and the rest of the world. Business leaders, however, have said these measures need to be introduced soon as Lee had not specified a timeline.

Tim Draper plans to franchise hostels: Draper Startup House, founded by Vikram Bharti who teamed up with venture capitalist Tim Draper to rebrand Tribe Theory, is looking to grow the hostel network with the help of a franchise model. Bharti first acquired a hostel in 2018 with the backing of a Japanese investment he earlier worked with. So far, Startup Draper House has directly financed 20 companies and helped 40 more with its collaborative fund. The company plans on expanding to 100 countries and have 10 to 15 franchising agreements before beginning a fresh round of funding.

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