Briefs: Openings increase in Europe; Driftwood picks up lending slack

Europe sees an increase in openings: Europe has been reporting steady growth in new hotel openings this year with 188 new hotels and 28,350 rooms opening in the first half of the year, according to Lodging Econometrics. Sustaining the upward trend in year-end openings seen in 2020 and 2021, Europe is expected to open 447 new hotels/ 64,898 rooms. In Q2 2022, Europe’s hotel construction pipeline stands at 1,706 projects and 265,818 rooms. There are 817 projects/131,772 rooms currently under construction and 413 projects/60,397 rooms scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months. Projects and rooms in the early planning stage are up 8% and 4% YOY respectively, with 476 projects/73,649 rooms.

Top 5 countries leading Europe’s construction pipeline:
U.K. – 309 projects/46,296 rooms
Germany – 258 projects/44,692 rooms
France – 152 projects/17,338 rooms
Portugal with 123 projects/14,811 rooms
Poland – 85 projects/12,205 rooms

Top 5 cities leading Europe’s construction pipeline:
London, the U.K. – 80 projects/13,683 rooms
Dusseldorf, Germany – 46 projects/8,492 rooms
Paris, France – 35 projects/5,540 rooms
Lisbon, Portugal – 34 projects/3,850 rooms
Istanbul, Turkey – 32 projects/6,598 rooms

Top 5 franchise companies leading Europe’s construction pipeline:
Accor – 262 projects/35,694 rooms
Marriott International – 201 projects/31,560 rooms
Hilton Worldwide – 192 projects/28,550 rooms
InterContinental Hotels Group – 151 projects/20,644 rooms
Radisson Hotel Group – 45 projects/8,266 rooms

Studio 6 in Destin, Florida

Driftwood picks up lending slack: As traditional lenders place greater scrutiny on hotel loan opportunities, lenders like Driftwood Capital’s Driftwood Lending Partners, Miami, are filling in the gaps. It made news on Monday by announcing a three-year, US$44.5 million mezzanine loan, with two one-year extension options, to an institutional owner of hospitality assets across the U.S. for the acquisition of an economy, extended-stay hotel portfolio located predominantly in the Southeast. This deal involved the acquisition of 26 hotels (3,067 keys), mostly Motel 6/Studio 6 properties from G6 Hospitality, including several in Lantana, Dania, West Palm and Destin, Florida. The loan also serves to refinance an additional 15 hotels. The mezzanine loan sits behind a US$226 million senior facility originated by Starwood Property Trust. The unnamed sponsor is the second largest economy hotel owner in the U.S. with an economy and select-service portfolio that now includes 109 assets totaling over 12,000 keys. The loan covers the sponsor’s acquisition of eight Motel 6 and four Studio 6 properties. The sponsor also acquired 14 economy extended-stay hotels located in Georgia and the Florida Panhandle, eight of which are operating as Studio 6 properties and will undergo brand-mandated renovations. Five of the properties will remain unbranded due to their small size, but also undergo major renovations. The 15 additional properties held as collateral are in Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

Saudi Crown Prince launches hospitality group: Saudi Crown Prince and the chairman of the Public Investment Fund Mohammed bin Salman has launched Boutique Group, a new hospitality brand that will manage and convert a collection of iconic, historic and cultural palaces across Saudi Arabia into ultra-luxe boutique hotels. The project’s first phase will be concentrated on the development of three historic palaces in collaboration with the private sector. This will include the Al Hamra Palace in Jeddah) which will offer 77 rooms including 33 luxury suites and 44 luxury villas), the Tuwaiq Palace in Riyadh (which will offer 96 rooms including 40 suites and 56 luxury villas), and the Red Palace in Riyadh (which will offer 71 keys including 46 suites and 25 luxury rooms). The new company will also provide high-end experiences like dining, wellness and exclusive services for guests.

Marriott’s Capuano to McDonald’s board: McDonald’s Corp., Chicago, Illinois, has announced the election of Anthony Capuano, CEO of Marriott International, to its board of directors effective October 1. Capuano brings his experience in real estate and leading a company with focus on franchising and boosting digital customer engagement through the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program. Under Capuano’s leadership, Marriott launched “Marriott’s Bridging the Gap” program, an initiative that was focused on creating a diverse and inclusive owner and franchisee base.

Lemon Tree signs: Lemon Tree Hotels, New Delhi, India, has announced a new signing in India — Lemon Tree Hotel in Hubli, Karnataka. The 65-key hotel is slated to open by May 2023 and will be managed by Carnation Hotels Pvt. Ltd., the management arm and subsidiary of Lemon Tree Hotels Ltd. The property will feature a restaurant, bar, spa, swimming pool, meeting room and fitness center. This will be Lemon Tree’s seventh property in Karnataka. Currently, the company operates around 8,250 rooms in 84 hotels across 52 destinations. Once its pipeline becomes operational, the company will have about 10,800 rooms in 112 hotels across 67 destinations in India and abroad.

Hotels close in Yangon amid tourism collapse: Almost half of the hotels in Yangon, Myanmar, have closed as the country’s tourism industry sees a near collapse due to the pandemic and the military coup in February. Out of the 483 hotels registered in the city, 225 have now stopped operations, according to the junta’s tourism ministry. Around half of the hotels were forced to close over high operating costs and lack of guests. The ministry, however, said the hotel closures would be temporary and would open once guests return. The hotels which are still operating have had to downsize and cut costs while providing quarantine services to visitors entering Myanmar on relief flights. Some of them have been hosting long-stay and local guests and those returning from abroad on relief flights. All except seven out of the nearly 3,000 Yangon-based tour operators have closed their businesses.

Charlestowne Hotels adds in Hamilton: Charlestowne Hotels, Charleston, South Carolina, has added Hotel One75 in Hamilton, New York, to its collection of university properties. The recently refurbished hotel located near the Colgate University campus offers 93 rooms and includes a banquet room and an outdoor courtyard. The hotel is Charlestowne’s 11th hotel in a university market, with additional properties.

Maslina Resort adds villas, residences: Maslina Resort, the 5-star Relais and Chateaux property on Hvar, Croatia, has announced the addition of five villas and 12 residences, a turn-key project operated under the Maslina brand. Slated to be completed between 2024-2025, The New Storyboard expands on the ‘mindful luxury’ philosophy of the resort. The four- and five-bedroom villas will feature a kitchen, living area, heated infinity swimming pool, private garden, sauna, fitness area and jacuzzi. The sea-facing two- and three-bedroom residences offer a garden, terrace and a pool. Property owners will be able to join the Maslina Privileged Owners Program. With the rental program, which guarantees four weeks of usage by the owner per year along with delegation of property management and sales and marketing to Maslina Resort, owners can receive up to 6% of the property’s value per year in rental income.