Briefs: Valor adds to management portfolio; HEI to manage Saddlebrook Resort

Valor adds to management portfolio: Valor Hospitality Partners, Atlanta, Georgia, announced it has been appointed to manage The Dunluce Lodge, a new-build, 35-key, 5-star luxury hotel and spa in Portrush, Northern Ireland, overlooking the Royal Portrush Golf Club. The nine-acre land, which was earlier privately owned, is slated to open in 2023. The hotel, owned by U.S.-based Jonathan Harper and Robert Covington, is the area’s first 5-star property. Maxwell and Co., Inverness, have been appointed as the hotel’s architects.

Record pub sale in Sydney: Sydney’s former Lord Mayor and philanthropist Nelson Meers AO has acquired the Crossroads Hotel in Sydney reportedly for AU$160 million (US$119.34 million), setting a record for a pub sale in Australia. The off-market deal negotiated by HTL Property and was sold by Rob Macdonald. In 2020, the pub hit the headlines after becoming the site of one of the biggest outbreaks of the Delta variant of COVID-19 that prompted lockdowns in Sydney.

Selina, TechnoArt partnership: Selina announced its strategic partnership with TechnoArt, the growth platform for technology startups, to launch TechnoArt Selina. The partnership creates one of the first global innovation programs to support the digital nomad community. TechnoArt also announced the launch of a dedicated innovation fund through which it will syndicate investments up to 12 graduating companies per year. The partnership includes two programs — Born and Grown. Born is a 12-week innovation program to help early stage startups create their vision into a business, while Grown is a digital platform to meet the needs of the digital nomad community. TechnoArt Selina members can apply for financing through the partnership’s dedicated website, which will be vetted by the partnership’s investment committee and presented by TechnoArt to its strategic investment partners. TechnoArt is planning to allocate between US$1 million and US$5 million per investment.

Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley, Florida

HEI to manage Saddlebrook Resort: HEI Hotels & Resorts, Norwalk, Connecticut, announced the addition of the Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley, Florida, to its portfolio of independent resorts. Mast Capital, Miami, Florida, and Boca Raton, Florida-based Amzak Capital Management acquired the resort in March and are planning to make major upgrades to the property. This is the second property that Mast has appointed HEI to manage. Spread across 480 acres, the 519-key condo hotel resort consists of two Arnold Palmer-designed golf courses, 43 tennis courts, a spa, 100,000 square feet of meeting space along with the Saddlebrook Prep, a tennis and golf academy.

Radisson Inn & Suites to sign 100 properties: Radisson Hotel Group Americas Development announced it plans to sign 100 Radisson Inn & Suites over the next 12 months. The upper midscale brand was launched last month.

Leisure travel takes off: Leisure travel is registering incredible levels of pent-up demand, especially around “bucket list travel,” while business travel may be slow to return to normal levels, according to EY’s latest Future Consumer Index. The index, which monitors consumer behavior and sentiment since April 2020, has shown that 61% of respondents have booked or are planning to book a vacation for the next six months, while 78% expect to spend more or on the same on vacations than in previous years. The top three reasons why consumers are not booking a vacation include due to health reasons (27%), waiting for further easing of restrictions (26%) and saving money (24%).

Benchmark Pyramid adds to portfolio: Benchmark Pyramid has assumed management of Riverhouse on the Deschutes, the 221-room hotel on the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon. The hotel includes a large convention center which can accommodate up to 1,600 attendees, a restaurant and environmentally-minded and sustainably driven wellness treatments at the spa. This is the third destination in the Pacific Northwest to join Benchmark Pyramid, following Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washington, and Woodinville, Washington.

Mitsis Hospitality launches five-year investment plan: Mitsis Hospitality, Athens, Greece, is launching a five-year investment plan worth €500 million (US$543.83 million) to develop new tourism projects in Greece. Slated to be completed by 2027, the investment plan will new luxury hotels in Mykonos, Rhodes, Crete and Piraeus. In the island of Rhodes, Mitsis, has acquired a 333.59-acre plot and plans to build three hotels, a shopping mall and a marina. In Mykonos, the group plans to develop a 225-key hotel on a 37.06-acre plot, while it is in talks with local entrepreneurs in Crete to purchase two hotels in Crete. In Piraeus port, the company is planning to convert an old factory into a 150-key boutique hotel.

Thailand relaxes testing requirements for visitors: Thailand is planning to scrap the mandatory RT-PCR tests on arrival for foreign visitors from May in an attempt to attract more international tourists. Vaccinated travelers will no longer be required to reserve a one-night hotel stay to secure visas. The RT-PCR tests will be replaced with antigen tests at airports. The Thai hotel industry has been demanding cancelation of the Test & Go visa program, which is being considered as a deterrent for incoming travelers. Besides Thailand, Australia, Singapore and the Philippines have eased entry requirements for tourists.

The Meridian sells for US$30.5 million: Cambridge Lansdowne, Miami, Florida, has acquired The Meridian Hotel in Miami Beach for US$30.5 million from Miami-based Urbanica Hotels. Cambridge secured a US$18.3 million loan from Bradesco BAC Florida Bank to partially finance the purchase. The four-story hotel features 70 rooms. Urbanica acquired the 16,110 square feet hotel for US$5.5 million in 2013 and doubled the size of the hotel, adding 16,479 square feet, while maintaining the building’s original façade.

St. Regis to Goa: Marriott International announced the signing of an agreement with Ceres Hotels, the subsidiary of Kuala Lumpur-based Metrod Holdings Berhad, to rebrand The Leela Goa as St. Regis Goa. The hotel is expected to undergo a full transformation in phases and set to open as St. Regis from October. As part of the agreement, Marriott will control and supervise the hotel’s operations. This will be Marriott’s ninth property in Goa. Spanning 49 acres, the hotel will feature 206 rooms and five specialty restaurants. Hotel Leelaventure sold The Leela Goa to Kuala Lumpur-based MetTube, a major shareholder in Metrod, in 2015 for Rs. 725 crore (US$95.5 million). Currently, Marriott has 129 properties across 16 brands in India.

DRB approves Naples Beach Club redevelopment plan: The Design Review Board has approved of plans to replace the Naples Beach Hotel in Naples, Florida. The Athens Group and MSD Partners acquired The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club sold for over US$362 million to redevelop into a 216-key hotel and resort managed by Four Seasons, up to 185 luxury residences and upscale club amenities. The Beach Club had been owned and operated by the Watkins family and shut down permanently in May 2021 but its sale was delayed over the legal challenges filed by Greg Myers who opposed the redevelopment.

Hybrid hotel brand in Saudi: Arbah Capital, a Saudi Arabia-based investment group, has partnered with Dubai-based Strategic Housing Group to create a joint venture to develop and launch Innov8, the region’s first integrated co-living hybrid hotel. The brand will be growing both regionally as well as internationally, with the first properties in its pipeline in Dubai and Riyadh. The joint venture is targeting for a US$500 million portfolio. The properties will offer private rooms and studios along with shared facilities like dining venues, common kitchen lounges, serviced laundry services, co-working, entertainment and social spaces, minimarts, fitness amenities and more.

Hotel Properties to dispose two JV companies: Hotel Properties, via its 80%-owned joint venture company HPL Olympia, has entered into a share purchase agreement with a party to sell its 100% stake in the share capital of JV companies HPL Olympia and Maple Olympia Propco 4 Sarl. The total value of the transaction is £40.8 million (US$53.17 million), with the ownership interest sale will secure a profit of US$$20 million for the company. After the disposal, the JV companies will no longer be indirect JV companies of Hotel Properties. The cost of the deal was negotiated at arm’s length on a “willing buyer and willing seller” basis and will be satisfied entirely in cash, the group said.

Eiendomsspar acquires in Oslo: Eiendomsspar AS, Oslo, Norway, has acquired the 4-star Hotel Cristiania Teater from Oslo-based Strawberry Group. The hotel is currently undergoing extensive renovations. Originally built to house a theater by Danish architect Hack Kampmann, the building was converted into a hotel in 2010.

Weave, PGIM acquire in Hong Kong: Weave Living, Hong Kong, has created a US$200 million joint venture with the U.S.-based PGIM Real Estate to acquire the 435-key Rosedale Hotel in Hong Kong’s Kowloon for HK$1.37 billion (US$174 million). Weave will serve as the joint venture’s asset manager, operations and development manager and retain a 10% stake alongside its third-party capital partner. The single transaction is expected to grow the room count under Weave’s portfolio by 40%. The company plans to continue expanding to double the number of its properties and manage over 1,500 properties. After the hotel undergoes a renovation, the 111,000 square foot property will consist of shared spaces across three levels and include an entire floor for work-from-home facilities and a 4,000 square foot rooftop terrace.

Pandox sells Mora Hotel: Cibola Holding AB has acquired the Mora Hotel & Spa in Mora, Sweden, from Swedish owner and operator Pandox AB for SEK114 million (US$12.06 million). The 140-key hotel also features meeting rooms, a restaurant and spa.

SomnOO grows in France: SomnOO announced the acquisition of minority ownership of the 230-room portfolio of four properties across France. The properties include the 38-key Hôtel de L’Univers Arras, 48-key Hotel Best Western Plus Le Lavarin Avignon, the 80-room ibis styles Aries Palais des Congres and the 64-key ibis budget Aries Palais des Congres. SomnOO currently operates a portfolio of 50 hotels in France and Germany, of which eight are majority owned and 42 are minority owned with preferential redemption rights.