Essential news from around the world…
Starwood to open first W resort Starwood Hotels and Resorts is to open its first resort under the W brand on a private island in the Maldives. The W Maldives-Fesdhu Resort, which will be jointly owned with Universal Enterprises, will offer 50 over-water and 30 beachfront villas. It will open in late 2005 to become Starwood's 21st W hotel and its third in Asia Pacific.
Ian Schrager Hotels changes name back to Morgans Hotel Group
InterContinental signs up for nine new hotels in China InterContinental Hotels has signed contracts to manage nine new properties in China that will see the debut of the Express by Holiday Inn brand in China at hotels in Zhengzhou and Xi'an. The deal also covers an InterContinental hotel in Beijing; three Holiday Inns in Changshu, North Chongqing and Erdos; and three Crowne Plazas in Longgang Shenzhen, Tianjin and Guangzhou. They will open between 2004 and 2007. The group says it is on track to double its presence in China from the current 45 properties.
Fairmont bags three more hotels in Middle East
Fairmont Hotels is to manage three new hotels in the Middle East which are all scheduled to open in 2006. They are: the 552-bedroom Fairmont Cairo hotel in Egypt; the 265-bedroom Fairmont Abu Dhabi Resort and Villas; and the 300-bedroom Fairmont Palm Hotel & Resort in Dubai which will also include 460 timeshare residences.
Orient-Express buys luxury French canal barge operator Orient-Express Hotels is to buy Afloat in France, which owns five luxury barges that cruise the canals of Burgundy and Provence during the tourist season. The barges can accommodate between six to 12 passengers and several have swimming pools. Orient-Express will make a 50% down payment of $3m (£1.65m), followed by a second payment in three to five years based on earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation. Orient-Express Hotels announced a net loss of $4.6m (£2.5m) during the first-quarter of the year, compared with a loss of $2.6m (£1.4m) the year before. Turnover increased to $66.1m (£36.4m) from $61.5m (£33.9m)
Recovery predicted for North American conference centres
A new report from PKF Consulting and the International Association of Conference Centres is predicting significant growth in occupancy and revenue per available room (revpar) for North American conference centres throughout 2004 and 2005. It forecasts an average rise in revpar of between 3% and 4% during 2004.
Accor boosts internet bookings
France-based hotel group Accor boosted the number of bookings made through its accorhotels.com website by 116% between January and April this year. The website now accounts for 25% of the group's internet sales. It claimed that more than 160,000 rooms in Accor hotels are booked each week on the internet, the equivalent of one room every four seconds.
by Angela Frewin
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