Briefs: Villa d’Este’s new CEO; Six Senses to Dubai

Villa d’Este’s new CEO: Davide Bertilaccio will take charge as CEO of Villa d’Este Hotels starting in April. He will oversee the group’s four properties — the luxury Hotel Villa d’Este on Lake Como, the newly refurbished luxury Villa La Massa in Florence, and the two 4-star hotels in Como downtown (Palace Hotel and Hotel Barchetta Excelsior). Before joining Villa d’Este, Bertilaccio was the regional vice president and managing director of Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco (based in Montalcino, Italy). He also served as area general manager of FRHI Hotels & Resorts, overseeing the company’s three Kenyan properties.

Blackstone takes Crown Resorts: The US$6.3 billion buyout proposal from Blackstone was accepted Monday by the billionaire James Packer held Australian Crown Resorts Ltd. The A$13.10 cash offer pegs Crown below traded 2019 share prices, till COVID-19 restrictions and regulatory inquiries over money laundering charges surfaced. Chief Executive Steve McCann said Crown’s shareholders would get much-needed certainty, even as shares prices escalated 2% to A$12.65 after the deal. “When you’re looking at a change of control, it’s not today’s trading price and earnings,” McCann said, calling the deal a “much broader assessment” at a “pretty fair price.” Blackstone, which already held about 10% of Crown, takes over even as investigations revealed the casino had dealt with criminal organizations and misled authorities. The gambling license for the A$2.2 billion casino skyscraper in Sydney was suspended over a year back and, a government-appointed supervisor will administer the Melbourne casino for two years. Stakeholders, including White Funds Management and Wilson Asset Management, supported the Blackstone deal. White Funds’ MD, Angus Gluskie, said new ownership was important to resolve regulatory concerns.

Rendering of Six Senses The Palm Dubai

Six Senses to Dubai: Six Senses has partnered with Dubai-based Select Group to mark its entry into the U.A.E with Six Senses The Palm Dubai — a LEED-certified, 61-key hotel and 162 branded residences along a stretch of private beach on Palm Jumeirah’s West Crescent. The property, which will open in late 2024, features a 60,000 square foot social and wellness club. The residences include penthouses, royal penthouses and duplex sky villas. There are nine five-bedroom beachfront signature villas, each offering an infinity pool, a garden and palm-framed views of the beach. Residents will have access to the hotel’s services and recreational facilities.

Santander, Signal acquire Sheraton in Spain: An investment fund managed by Madrid-based Banco Santander and Signal Capital has reportedly acquired the 284-key Hotel Sheraton La Caleta Resort & Spa in Costa Adeje, Spain, from Grupo Disa for €80 million (US$90.76 million). The property also includes 20 suites, four restaurants, two bars and 10 meeting rooms and is presently managed by Marriott International. The deal was advised by Colliers, Pérez-Llorca and EY, on behalf of the seller, and by KPMG from the buyer side.

Island Hospitality grows in California: Island Hospitality Management, West Palm Beach, Florida, has taken over management of the 170-suite, seven story Home2Suites by Hilton Woodland Hills Los Angeles. This marks the third-party management company’s third Home2 and 30th Hilton-branded property in California. The hotel features the newly opened ‘Toasted Barrel,’ an all-American bourbon forward 20-seat restaurant. Island Hospitality currently operates over 75 hotels under 15 brands across 25 states and the District of Columbia.

UK travel, tourism sector to hit £192 billion: The U.K.’s travel and tourism sector is recovering and is set to make a contribution of £192 billion (US$260.12 billion) to the country’s economy by the end of the year, revealed data from the World Travel & Tourism Council. If “chaotic travel restrictions” and “unnecessary testing protocols” remain off limits for the rest of the year, the sector should see a healthy recovery, the global tourism body predicted. This could mean a net gain in jobs for the sector, with a 1.7% rise from pre-pandemic levels, resulting in around 4.3 million people being employed by the year-end, 70,000 more than 2019.