Briefs: Trinity to acquire Diplomat; Montage partners for Newport Beach Pendry  

Trinity Investments to acquire Diplomat Beach Resort: Trinity Investments, Honolulu, Hawaii, is reportedly set to acquire for roughly US$850 million the 1,000-room Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida, from New York-based Brookfield Properties. Trinity is under contract to buy the oceanfront hotel, with JLL heading the sale. The hotel was first listed for US$1 billion in 2019, with Jeffrey Soffer’s Fontainebleau Development set to purchase it before the pandemic hit. Brookfield and Fontainebleau, along with Koch Real Estate as the buying partner, resumed talks a few months ago but the negotiations fell apart. Thayer Lodging Group, a subsidiary of Brookfield, acquired the hotel for US$460 million in 2014 and has invested some US$100 million in renovations.

Rendering of Pendry Newport Beach

Montage to transform Fashion Island Hotel: Montage International, along with Eagle Four Partners, will transform the former Fashion Island Hotel in Newport Beach, California, into the Pendry Newport Beach by summer 2023. Pendry Newport Beach will feature 295 rooms, including 82 suites, along with three lounge, restaurant and bar experiences and a private membership club focused on creating community and delivering bespoke experiences. The hotel’s interior will be designed by Studio Munge, architecture by WATG and landscape architecture by Burton Studio. This is the third Pendry-branded property in Southern California, after San Diego and West Hollywood.

Choice beats 2019 RevPAR by 2.2%: Choice Hotels International beat The Street on all key measurables for 4Q21 with adjusted EBITDA of US$95.5 million (US$83.6 million consensus estimate). Adjusted earnings per share was US$0.99 (versus consensus estimate of US$0.83). Domestic RevPAR was US$46.73 and up 13.9% versus 4Q19. For the full year, RevPAR was up a headline-grabbing 2.2% versus 2019. In 4Q the company awarded 239 domestic franchise agreements, a 23% increase versus 4Q20. However, domestic room count was down 1.2% year-over-year, predominantly due to 17 AMResorts-branded properties exiting. Choice stated, “To ensure the quality of our brand portfolio over the long term, we continue to terminate underperforming economy hotels at the bottom end of the portfolio, as well as quality hotels that are unable to maintain the standards of a midscale brand.” Choice also raised its quarterly dividend by 6% to $0.2375/share.

Mandarin Oriental to The Maldives: Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group will manage a new resort on a private island in The Maldives, which is slated to open in 2025. Currently under development, the resort will stretch across three private islands in South Male Atoll and will feature 120 standalone villas, consisting of 56 overwater villas and 64 beachfront villas, including 10 branded Residences at Mandarin Oriental. The resort will include six dining outlets, including three specialty restaurants and a sunset bar. Mandarin Oriental is working to ensure sustainability best practices are followed during the development. The 34-hectare site is being developed by DAMAC Properties, which is part of Dubai-headquartered DAMAC Group.

Strong demand drives Airbnb 4Q21: Airbnb’s fourth quarter results has shown strong demand and profitability, boosted by rising domestic travel and longer stays at higher prices. The San Francisco, California-based short-term home rental company reported Q4 revenue of US$1.53 billion, compared with Refinitiv IBES estimates of US$1.46 billion. “Nearly half of our nights booked in Q4 were for stays of a week or longer. One in five nights booked were for stays of a month or longer,” the company said. Strong demand helped to push prices charged by hosts, with ADR during Q4 increasing by 20% to US$154. Bookings in this quarter of US$11.3 billion were below Morningstar’s forecast of US$11.4 billion but represented 132% of 2019 levels and an increase of 123% from the previous quarter. Sales of US$1.6 billion compared to Morningstar’s US$1.5 billion forecast was 138% of pre-pandemic levels and close to the 136% of the previous quarter.

Singapore to allow quarantine-free entry: Singapore will allow fully vaccinated international travelers to skip quarantine on arrival after the Omicron wave subsides, authorities announced on Wednesday. While the authorities did not specify a date for when the new policy would be implemented, but they did state the Omicron wave is likely to peak in a few weeks. Singapore had earlier announced “vaccinated travel lanes” (VTL) that will allow travelers from specific countries to enter without following quarantine rules. From February 22, all countries will be classified under three main groups — restricted, general and low infection. Most nations will be under the general category and will be subject to the same entry requirements unless a VTL has been implemented. No countries will be in the restricted category for now, but the list will be updated if a new variant of concern is identified.

US overseas tourism spend most valuable: The average overseas tourism expenditure per person in the U.S. was US$3,580 in 2021, making it the most valuable globally, according to the report ‘Premiumization in Travel & Tourism (2022)’ by GlobalData. The willingness of the U.S. market to spend significant amounts of disposable income on international vacations will drive recovery of many global destinations. The report reveals that among the top 10 outbound destinations for the U.S. market in 2021, six would be classified as long-haul destinations because of the average flight time being over six hours. The average length of stay for an international trip from the U.S. market was 18 days in 2021. Global outbound tourist expenditure is projected to increase at a CAGR of 22% between 2021 and 2024, with expenditure exceeding the pre-pandemic levels by 2024. This will be driven by U.S. travelers.

Accor adopts Ocean Approved Framework: Accor has collaborated with Amundi, the Paris-based asset manager, to adopt the Ocean Approved Framework, designed by Fondation de la Mer (Sea Foundation) to help companies and investors assess the impact of their activities on ocean wildlife. Accor is the first big company to adopt the framework, which was also designed by Amundi, as part of its ocean strategy and reporting policy. The framework has been created in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goal Number 14 ‘Life below water’ and seeks to conserve oceans and seas and sustainably use marine resources. Accor has banned six endangered fish species and locally threatened fish from its menus and ensures that wild and farmed fish products are sourced from sustainable fisheries. The group has also already pledged to stop using single-use plastics at its hotels by the end of the year. Amundi has been using the Ocean Framework as a tool since last year and its engagement is focused on four areas — seafood and aquaculture, energy, hotels, and shipping/cruise lines. Amundi plans to double the number of companies it engages with and allocate more capital for ocean protection.

Synergy to manage Embassy Suites in Philadelphia: Colmar Hotels, Irving, Texas, has selected Wayne, Pennsylvania-based Synergy Hospitality Management to manage the 229-key Embassy Suites by Hilton Philadelphia Valley Forge in Wayne. Colmar acquired the five-story, all-suite hotel in 2018 and has completed a US$14 million renovation of the entire facility.

Remington to manage Le Méridien Fort Worth: In partnership with Blueprint Hospitality, Remington Hotels has signed an agreement to manage Le Méridien Fort Worth, a redevelopment of the 13-story building formerly known as the Hotel Texas Annex, in Fort Worth, Texas. The 189-key hotel is slated to reopen in 2023 and will sit adjacent to the Hilton Fort Worth, another Remington property. The redevelopment, which is led by Premier and Sanvick Architects, will see new ground floor restaurants and a rooftop bar, 3,000 square feet of meeting space and a refresh of the sixth floor pool deck. Le Méridien Fort Worth marks Remington’s sixth property in the Dallas-Forth Worth area.