High street clothing and home furnishings chain Laura Ashley has acquired the 49-room Edgwarebury Hotel in the village of Elstree, north of London, for £5.8 million from Corus Hotels, whose parent company, Malayan United Industries, is a major shareholder in Laura Ashley. The Tudor-style property is to be relaunched later this year as a boutique hotel showcasing Laura Ashley’s furnishings and design service. The sale reduces Corus Hotels’ UK portfolio to nine properties.
A little more than three weeks since it acquired three hotels in Germany, HPI Hotelbesitz GmbH has purchased the freehold of the Ibis Prague Karlin in the Czech Republic. HPI intends to renovate the 226-room hotel to bring it in line with the brand standards of its sister company, Pentahotels. The hotel will be rebranded later this year when the work is complete but in the meantime Accor’s Ibis brand will continue to manage the property. Several Pentahotels are featured on stylehotelsweb, a property in Beijing opened recently.
Of the Von Essen Hotels, which went into administration last year, only two out of 27 hotels remain unsold, the Ston Easton Park near Bath and the Sharrow Bay in the Lake District of northern England. This week three Von Essen’s were sold: The Royal Crescent in Bath, the Congham Hall in Norfolk and the Seaham Hall in Durham. The latter was featured on stylehotelsweb for some time, but was getting some bad reviews. Hopefully it will pick up again under new ownership and welcome it back on stylehotelsweb.
InterContinental Hotels Group has opened its second Hotel Indigo property in Scotland. The Hotel Indigo Edinburgh is housed in an 18th-century listed building (previously the Osbourne Hotel and originally five residential properties) at the heart of Edinburgh’s “New” Town. The 60-room hotel, owned by Sojourn Hotels, joins its sister property the 94-room Hotel Indigo Glasgow.
Marriott International is considering selling its three Edition hotels (New York, London, Miami Beach) to fund an expansion of the lifestyle brand created with Ian Schrager. “We already have interested buyers,” said Arne Sorensen in a recent interview. “We’re willing to put in more money to expand Edition,” added Mr Sorenson, who is set to replace Bill Marriott as chief executive officer at the end of the month. Marriott would continue to operate the properties after the sale. Besides those three locations, Marriott has announced Editions for Bangkok and Abu Dhabi. Marriott has a stated commitment of US$800 million to develop the Edition brand, an atypical move for the company that is primarily focused on managing hotels. The Edition brand has had a rocky start with only two Edition-branded hotels opened so far in Istanbul and Honolulu, and the Honolulu hotel has since rebranded amid legal acrimony between the hotel’s owner and Marriott.
Africa’s first easyHotel is to open later this year in Johannesburg, South Africa. Work is due to start next month on the 120-room easyHotel Rissik Street, which is being developed over three floors of the city’s former Stuttafords department store, and it is expected to open in November 2012. The budget hotel will be the first fruit of a 20-year master franchise agreement between easyHotel and African conglomerate Lonrho, which will see a total of 50 easyHotels open across the African continent by 2016.
Aloft Tucson University, a former Four Points by Sheraton property, will undergo a complete renovation before opening in the first half of 2013. The 150-room hotel is owned by Starwood, demonstrating the company’s commitment to the fast-
growing, three-year-old Aloft brand. In September, Aloft announced its first conversion project, Aloft San Francisco Airport (a former Clarion Hotel) set to open this fall. Additionally, Aloft’s “green” adaptive reuse of Dallas’ historic Santa Fe Railroad terminal won multiple awards from a local preservation group in 2010.“We continue to see two types of opportunities as ideal candidates for an Aloft conversion: Hotels built in the ‘70s or ‘80s in need of renovation, and unique independent boutique hotels seeking a stronger brand point of view and the ability to utilize Starwood systems,” said Allison Reid, Senior Vice President of North American Development for Starwood.
The Mövenpick Hotel Lausanne, Switzerland, has unveiled three new conference rooms and 72 stylish new business rooms following the completion of a major six-floor extension project. The business rooms in the newly built North wing are designed to satisfy a new generation of business travellers who not only need fast Wi-Fi and a safe place to store their laptops, but also a room that is contemporary as well as comfortable. New elements include a cutting edge ‘open space’ bathrooms with individual walk-in Italian style rain showers and separate toilet; a pillow menu with six different options; a 32-inch, 135-channel LED television; a Nespresso coffee machine; private balcony and an inviting interior design featuring soothing tones of dark purple offset by beige headboards, wooden motifs, bold carpets and historic images of the Ouchy area from Lausanne Museum.