Briefs: Peachtree launches investment co.; Akaryn grows Aleenta brand

Peachtree launches new company: Peachtree Hotel Group, Atlanta, Georgia, has created Peachtree Group, a company that will manage and control its multi-billion-dollar investment portfolio and direct investment strategies across operating and real estate divisions such as hospitality, residential development, commercial lending and capital markets. The new company will be led by its managing principals, Greg Friedman and Jatin Desai. Peachtree’s operating companies will continue to be led by their existing executives. 

Related Cos. to sell Equinox in NYC: Stephen Ross’s Related Cos. is reportedly looking to sell the 212-room Equinox Hotel at Hudson Yards in New York City. The New York-based company is working with an adviser to solicit interest in the property, which consists of the hotel, retail and office space, and is expected to fetch over US$200 million. Equinox will continue to manage the hotel with plans to grow the brand across the U.S.

Rendering of guest room at Aleenta Chiang Mai Resort & Spa

Akaryn grows Aleenta brand: Akaryn Hotel Group, Bangkok, Thailand, will open the 45-key Aleenta Chiang Mai Resort & Spa in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in Q1 2023. This will be Akaryn’s third property under the Aleenta Resort brand, after existing properties in Phuket and Hua Hin. The resort will feature a combination of 32 guest rooms with private terraces and one- and two-bedroom pool villas along with a four-bedroom teak wood villa made from antique golden teak which was collected by the owner, restored and assembled into a new structure.

Nobu’s 30th hotel: Nobu Hospitality, Miami Beach, Florida, in partnership with RDC Hotels, will launch a Nobu Hotel, Restaurant and Residences in Tulum, Mexico. An opening date has not been announced. The property will be Nobu’s 30th hotel globally, the sixth and fourth residential project between Nobu and RCD Hotels. Nobu Hotel Tulum will consist of 200 rooms and suites, including 12 villas, 50 beachside residences and a beachfront Nobu restaurant. Nobu partnered with RCD Hotels in 2016 and has previously opened hotels in Miami Beach, Los Cabos, and Chicago, and has pipeline projects in Punta Cana and Orlando, besides the one in Tulum.

Hotel Florhof to rebrand: The majority shareholder and chairman of Zurich, Switzerland-based Lalique Group, Silvio Denz, along with entrepreneur Peter Spuhler, have acquired Hotel Florhof in Zurich. After undergoing renovations and the addition of a restaurant on the first floor, the hotel will reopen as Villa Florhof in early 2024. Lalique will operate the hotel and restaurant as leaseholder. There are plans to reduce the number of guest rooms on the upper floors to 15 suites and rooms. There are also plans to add a bar with a terrace, a living room and a smoker’s lounge on the ground floor. Hotel manager Tanja Wegmann will oversee the transformation and reopening. The previous owners of the hotel, whose family had owned the property for around 100 years, had announced the closure of the property effective from July-end.

StonePark acquires The Waterman: StonePark Capital, Santa Barbara, California, has acquired The Waterman, a 31-key hotel in Santa Barbara. Currently undergoing a transition from an independently-branded hotel, the hotel will join Marriott’s Moxy Hotels. The transition, slated to be completed by the summer of 2023, will take about 12 months to be completed and will see upgrades to the common areas and rooms. The hotel will stay open during this phase. The Waterman is the first of the two Marriott properties for StonePark in Santa Barbara, with the 122-key Courtyard by Marriott scheduled to open this fall. StonePark has collaborated with Azul Hospitality Group to oversee the management of both hotels.

Electra acquires in Boston: Electra America Hospitality Group, Lake Park, Florida, has acquired the 225-room Loews Boston hotel in Boston, Massachusetts, at an undisclosed price. The company plans to rebrand the upscale hotel as Hotel AKA Back Bay, marking the debut of AKA, a hospitality operator and a unit of Korman Communities, in Boston. This marks Electra America’s sixth hotel acquisition in the last 18 months. Electra America plans to invest around US$20 million in renovations and design upgrades, which will be undertaken while the property remains open. All the guest rooms, two suites and a penthouse suite will see a soft design upgrade, while the lobby will include a library with a seating area and the additions of a fitness center, spa, theater and a newly-imagined rooftop area. The hotel’s restaurant will also undergo renovations and will feature a whiskey cellar, wine tasting room and a new private dining room. Built in 1925, the historic building earlier served as the headquarters of the Boston Police Department from 1926 to 1990.

Northern California hotel purchases slow down: Hotel buying activity across Northern California cooled off, including in the Bay Area, in the first half of 2022 and might worsen over the rest of the year, according to a report released by Atlas Hospitality Group. The dollar volume for purchases of Northern California hotels in the first six months of 2022 stood slightly less than US$1.03 billion, representing a 63.4% drop from the US$2.8 billion in the first half of 2021. Northern California’s poor performance has pulled down statewide results. In comparison, Southern California’s hotel market saw a 1.3% increase in the dollar volume of hotel deals with a total of US$2.42 billion in 2022 (against US$2.39 billion in 2021). During the first half of 2022, California hotel purchases generate transactions worth US$3.45 billion, a 33.6% decline from the record US$5.19 billion in hotel deals in 2021.

Asia Pac pipeline update: Projects and rooms in the early planning stage in Asia Pacific region’s construction pipeline, barring China, touched record highs in Q2 2022 soaring to 596 projects/117,253 rooms, up 30% YOY by projects and 23% YOY by rooms, according to Lodging Econometrics. The region’s total construction pipeline grew to 1,891 projects/396,517 rooms, up 11% and 9% respectively YOY. Projects currently under construction stand at 958 projects/212,609 rooms, up 12% YOY and 9% YOY respectively and projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months stand at 337 projects/66,655 rooms. Upscale and midscale projects hit record high project counts of 411 projects/92,424 rooms and 181 projects/28,993 rooms respectively. Conversions and renovation projects also reached record high project and room counts of 173 projects/34,955 rooms in the second quarter.

Top 5 Asia Pac countries leading construction pipeline:
India – 339 projects/42,548 rooms
Indonesia – 284 projects/45,359 rooms
Vietnam – 223 projects/80,376 rooms
Thailand – 178 projects/42,694 rooms
Japan – 171 projects/36,919 rooms

Top 5 Asia Pac cities with largest pipelines:
Bangkok, Thailand – 69 projects/18,304 rooms
Seoul, South Korea – 63 projects/12,068 rooms
Jakarta, Indonesia – 63 projects/11,434 rooms
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – 45 projects/13,602 rooms
Phuket, Thailand – 36 projects/8,814 rooms

Top 4 Asia Pac franchise companies:
Marriott International – 271 projects/58,673 rooms
Accor – 203 projects/41,816 rooms
IHG – 143 projects/30,677 rooms
Hilton – 91 projects/21,483 rooms

Upscale travel trends: Luxury travel has led the way forward in 2022, undeterred by new variants of COVID-19, travel restrictions and overcrowded airports, revealed the latest survey by global luxury travel network, Virtuoso. The results were shared at the 34th annual Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas, Nevada. Upscale travelers are ready to resume their pre-pandemic travel volumes and have been consistent. This January, 85% of the respondents said they were in a ready-to-travel mindset and 86% planned to take an international trip. The most popular way to travel is with a spouse or significant other, followed by friends and family and children under 18 years of age. Despite traveling with friends witnessing a drop from 46% in 2019 to 36% in 2022, it was the second most popular form of travel. In terms of festive/holiday travel, most people are ready to make plans, even during the uncertainty of traveling during a pandemic. In 2020,  a mere 16% were comfortable planning and making adjustments if required which increased to 28%. In 2020, 22% of people waited to book until closer to their travel date which fell to 15%.

Tapestry debuts in the Caribbean: The Tapestry Collection by Hilton has entered the Caribbean with the opening of the ROK Hotel Kingston, Tapestry Collection by Hilton in Kingston, Jamaica. The 168-key hotel, which is owned by Kingston-based PanJam Investment Ltd. and managed by Highgate, features 47 suites.

NYU, Phocuswright partner: The Hospitality Innovation Hub, which was recently launched by the NYU School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, is collaborating with travel research authority, Phocuswright, to advance innovation, entrepreneurship and guidance for startups, students and the university community. Phocuswright will provide the HI Hub Incubator and students of the Tisch Center of Hospitality with access to its library of research reports and analysis, data visualization tools, and industry insights. Students and startups can also access Phocuswright’s network of travel tech leaders through its events and communities, including The Phocuswright Conference, which is held every November.

Mission Hill acquires in Kansas: Mission Hill Hospitality, Denver, Colorado, has acquired the 102-room Oread Hotel adjacent to the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The hotel, which will be rebranded as Oread Hotel, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, marks Mission Hill’s 24th acquisition since the company was launched in March 2021. The 10-story hotel was first developed in 2010 as a 99-room hotel with nine residential condominium units. Planned capital improvements include conversion of three condo units to suites, substantial improvements to bathrooms, new furnishings and renovated public and event space.