Vienna Group takes over two ex-Premier hotels

23 May 2001
Vienna Group takes over two ex-Premier hotels
The Vienna Group has stepped up its expansion outside London by adding two former Premier hotels in the West Midlands to its portfolio. Premier Hotels went into administration last month after an attempted refinancing of the company fell through. The two hotels now being run by Vienna are the 110-bedroom Express by Holiday Inn in Castle Bromwich and the 133-bedroom Howard Johnson in West Bromwich. Both hotels are newly built. They were developed by Premier, which then entered into sale-and-leaseback deals with property investors. Vienna has taken a 35-year lease on the Castle Bromwich hotel, but only has a short-term management contract for the West Bromwich hotel. The hotels will continue to operate under the Express by Holiday Inn and Howard Johnson flags. It is the first time Vienna has run hotels under a franchised brand name. Deputy chairman Brian Levy said the move made sense because the Castle Bromwich hotel had been designed to fit the Express by Holiday Inn brand. He said of the other property: "Howard Johnson is a new brand to the UK and we're probably going to run with that for the time being." Levy added: "We've got the manual and we know precisely what we need to do. Both managers are in situ and both are very experienced and familiar with those particular products." The rest of the hotel staff are also staying on. The Castle Bromwich hotel is just off the M6 motorway, close to the former tyre factory at Fort Dunlop, now being redeveloped. It is also close to the National Exhibition Centre and Birmingham airport. The West Bromwich property is just off junction one of the M5. Vienna has been running hotels for nearly 30 years, but only made its first foray outside London four years ago, when it acquired the 70-bedroom Linton Lodge Hotel in Oxford from Hilton. Last year it added the 85-bedroom Kings Hotel in Brighton. Levy said of the latest move: "It puts a new dimension on our business, which for years has been in central London. "Who knows, it may lead to other acquisitions if the circumstances are right." Web link:Vienna Group
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