Hotels and restaurants posting bogus web reviews – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

13 November 2006
Hotels and restaurants posting bogus web reviews – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Hotels and restaurants posting bogus web reviews
Sunday Times, 12 November

Travelodge slash room rate over Christmas and New Year
Travelodge has launched a budget hotel price war in a bid to outperform Travel Inn over the Christmas period. Room rates will drop to an average of £10 a room. - Mail on Sunday, 12 November

Ritz worth nearly double after revaluation
A revaluation of the Ritz at £300m is up from £175m in 2004, according to accounts just filed for owners the Barclay brothers by their holding company, Ellerman Investments. The Ritz hotel made an operating profit of £4.4m, marginally up from the previous year. Profits in 2004 were boosted by property and hotel disposals, such as the sale of the Mirabeau hotel in Monte Carlo, which netted Ellerman Investments a profit of £11m. - The Independent, 12 November

Michelin chef to open cookery school aboard Britannia
Negotiations between Edinburgh's Michelin-starred chef Martin Wishart and the owners of the former Royal Yacht Britannia to open a school aboard the famous yacht are now at an advanced stage. Although the former royal yacht is no longer a working vessel after being decommissioned in 1997 and moored in Leith as a tourist attraction, it still has fully-functioning galleys that prepare food for corporate guests. Wishart hopes that the Britannia will prove an irresistible pull for would-be chefs who want to learn to cook in the galley where the Royal Family's food was prepared. - Scotland on Sunday, 12 November

McDonald's toys are valuable collector items No visit to a fast-food restaurant is complete for a child unless they get a toy to go with their junior meal. Most rip them open at the table and, if they do take them home, forget about them the next day. But a rare full set of toys in mint condition from McDonald's can fetch as much as £400, according to a collectibles specialist on the BBC's Antiques Roadshow programme. - Sunday Times (Scottish edition only), 12 November

Dublin's Gresham hotel now in single ownership Property developer Bryan Cullen has assumed complete control of the Gresham Hotel chain in a deal that values the group at more than €140m (£94m). Cullen bought out his partners in Precinct Investments ahead of a planned refinancing of the company. Cullen previously owned 66% of the hotel chain, which was purchased by Precinct for €115m (£77m) in January 2004. - Sunday Times (Irish edition only), 12 November

Barracuda expand pubs in Scotland despite smoke ban
Barracuda, one of the UK's fastest-growing pub chains, has accelerated its expansion in Scotland with a £10m investment that will double the size of its estate north of the Border within 12 months. The firm, led by Mark McQuater, who set up the group in July 2000, has brushed off the effects of the smoking ban in Scotland to announce five new openings in Scotland. - Scotland on Sunday, 12 November

Luminar picks restaurant boss
Chicago Rock Café owner Luminar will this week name Alan Jackson, chairman of The Restaurant Group, as its new chairman. Jackson is credited with turning around the fortunes of The Restaurant Group in the past years. - Mail on Sunday, 12 November

By Bob Gledhill

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