Briefs: voco debuts in Mexico; Tristan Fund, Queensway partner to acquire Point A

IHG launches voco in Mexico: IHG Hotels & Resorts has announced the signing of two new voco hotels in Guadalajara and Saltillo in Mexico, marking the debut of the upscale hospitality brand in the country. The signings also mark the brand’s growth beyond major cities in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia. Owned by Vertex Ophthalmic Group and expected to open later in the year, the 104-key voco hotel Guadalajara Neruda will occupy five floors of the 11-story Neruda 2828, a mixed-use project. The hotel will feature a restaurant and bar, rooftop terrace and business and fitness centers. The voco hotel Saltillo is slated to open in 2023, with developer and owner American Hotels Group working on the conversion of an independent hotel built in 2006. The hotel will comprise 125 suites, over 700 square feet of meeting space, indoor pool, fitness center and a restaurant and bar. Currently, there are 31 open voco hotels worldwide with 43 more in the global pipeline.

A Point A hotel room

Tristan Fund, Queensway partner to acquire Point A: European Property Investors Special Opportunities 6, London-based Tristan Capital Partners latest opportunistic fund, has acquired a majority shareholding in Raag Hotels Ltd., which owns Point A Hotels, in a £420 million (US$550.76 million) transaction. The deal will provide for the full exit of the Wellcome Trust, while other shareholders lie Queensway and a company owned by Naguib Kheraj, will remain minority partners. Point A’s present portfolio consists of 1,520 rooms in 10 hotels, with 80% of its value in London. Under the new partnership, Queensway will be the hotel operator, asset manager and development partner and co-invest in future sites. Tristan Capital plans to grow the portfolio in the U.K. and Ireland, with two to three acquisitions every year to help double the portfolio in the medium term. Existing banks HSBC and NatWest have been retained as lenders.

Mission Hill acquires in Massachusetts: Mission Hill Hospitality, a portfolio company of KSL Capital Partners, announced the acquisition of the dual-branded Residence Inn and Fairfield Inn & Suites Boston Waltham in Massachusetts at an undisclosed price. West Palm Beach, Florida-based Island Hospitality will the hotels. Built in 2018 as a single-building, the dual-branded hotel features an indoor swimming pool and extended-stay guestrooms. Residence Inn includes king studios with kitchens and modern workspaces. Fairfield Inn & Suites also features king or queen rooms and one-bedroom suites. These are Mission Hill’s 17th and 18th additions to its portfolio since the company was launched 12 months ago. With these additions, Mission Hill now has five sister properties in Massachusetts and nine across New England.

South America profitability struggling: Important hotel markets in South America are still struggling to regain profitability due to inflation, pandemic-caused gaps in travel and reduced impact from events, revealed STR’s February 2022 P&L data. Most of the markets in the region have been averaging 36% of their pre-pandemic levels in GOPPAR. While there were some improvements late in 2021, inflation and delays or cancelation of events have resulted in GOPPAR to decline again. Rio de Janeiro was the only key market that has stayed consistently above the 2019 levels in terms of GOPPAR. The market’s February GOPPAR was 172% of the pre-pandemic figure, 216% down from January. Lima was only 28% of its 2019 comparable in February but profit margins in the market were comparable with 2019 due to reduced expenses.

Kimpton’s first university hotel: Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants announced plans to open its first on-campus hotel on the grounds of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business near the UVA School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia, in spring 2023. The five-story hotel is owned by the University of Virginia Darden School Foundation, a nonprofit and independent organization, and will include 199 rooms and 12 suites designed by the Kimpton Design team, Looney & Associates and Beleco Design. The exterior will be worked on by Cooper Carry Inc. The property will also feature over a ballroom of 6,000 square feet which can accommodate 425 seated attendees, two restaurants, a wine cellar and fitness center. Once it opens, the hotel will be Kimpton’s fifth boutique property in the mid-Atlantic region.

Travelodge to launch new budget-luxe design: Travelodge, the U.K.’s largest independent hotel brand, announced they were evolving their core brand product to a new budget-luxe premium look and feel design, while maintaining the group’s value price proposition. The new design has been created following the success of TravelodgePLUS, the group’s chic hotel format, with feedback from the company’s consumer study which surveyed roughly 5,000 business and leisure travelers in the U.K. The new budget-luxe design will be introduced across the group’s properties in the U.K. with a multi-million-pound investment to upgrade 60 hotels this year. Five hotels will be completed by this month, including three hotels in London at Southwark, Vauxhall and Wembley as well as Southampton and Thame (Oxfordshire) close to Travelodge’s headquarters. The new design will include low-cost efficiencies with the benefit of thoughtful, homely and stylish designs in its interiors. Besides introducing a new signature navy blue brand color, the properties will also include the Bar Café, a contemporary designed restaurant with spaces that allow guests to socialize, work and relax. The new design will also feature sustainable initiatives like carpets being made of recycled fishing nets and old plastic bottles, low energy lighting and aerated showers and taps.

Sonesta grows in South America: Sonesta International Hotels Corp. is growing its international portfolio and footprint in South America with the addition of the 148-room Sonesta Hotel Cali, marking the brand’s seventh property in Columbia. The hotel includes 33 executive suites, two restaurants, a lobby bar, business and fitness centers, swimming pool and spa. The hotel also has 10 meeting rooms totaling 11,646 square feet. The hotel also marks the brand’s 13th hotel in South America under the management of GHL Hotels. Currently, Sonesta has 1,200 properties totaling 100,000 rooms across 15 brands in eight countries.