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Fairmont takeover bid held up by court… and other international hotel news

Fairmont takeover bid held up by court… and other international hotel news

Prince Al-Waleed’s Fairmont takeover bid held up by court
An Ontario court will need to rule on a $3.3b (£1.84b) takeover bid for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts from a group led by Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal before it completes. Shareholders voted 98.6% in favour of the acquisition on Tuesday but the deal will not be passed until the superior court has decided on opposition arguments from a group of Fairmont debt holders who say they deserve an additional $34.2m (£19.2m). The deal would see the Saudi prince pick up a majority stake in Fairmont with Los Angeles-based Colony Capital LLC obtaining a minority interest.

Raffles opens first Chinese hotel
Raffles hotels and resorts have unveiled their first Chinese property, opening on 1 June. The Raffles Beijing hotel is a fully restored landmark 171-Beijing Hotel built in the 1900s, with period French and Oriental features. The hotel will have four restaurants. East 33 offers Asian influenced food while the menu in Jann’s will focus on modern French cooking. La Vie is a tea and coffee lounge and guests can enjoy cocktails and cigars in the Writers bar.

Radisson SAS hotels to open in Moscow and St Petersburg
Rezidor SAS will open three new Radisson SAS hotels in Russia in 2007. The 264-bedroom Belorussakaya hotel and the 150-bedroom Riverside hotel will be in Moscow. A management contract has been signed for “a well-known existing hotel” in St Petersburg as well according to president and CEO Kurt Ritter. International hotel brands see Russia as a hot market because there are few world-class hotels and people are willing to spend a lot of money. Stephane Meyrat, an associate director at property agent Colliers International, said the opening of more international hotels in Russia would provide more choices for the consumer and better quality, but he also said hotel prices would increase as more high-end hotels replaced the Soviet-style ones now in operation.

Mandarin Oriental in China takes on new GM
Gerd Knaust has been appointed as general manager of the Mandarin Oriental, Sanya. Knaust comes from the Excelsior hotel in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, where he was hotel manager. He has previously worked as director of food and beverage at The Oriental, Singapore, and was general manager of the Mandarin Oriental, Surabaya. The Mandarin Oriental hotel group owns and operates 21 luxury hotels with a further nine under development.

Belgian Crowne Plaza to be built by InterContinental
InterContinental hotels group will open a new Crowne Plaza hotel in Liege, Belgium in 2008. Belgian company Royal Selys has signed the franchise agreement to run the hotel.  The 120-bedroom hotel will also feature a fine-dining restaurant, coffee shop and lobby bar. It is a combination of two previous buildings – the Hôtel de Sélys-Longchamps and the Hôtel des Comtes de Méan.

Accor plans budget hotel in Romanian capital
The French hotel chain Accor is planning to expand into Romania with the Etap brand at the two-star level, according to a Romanian newspaper. It quoted Bruno Vinette, the director general of Sofitel Hotel in Bucharest, as claiming that “we will have an Etap in Romania by 2007.” Accor reportedly want to purchase a hotel in Bucharest or elsewhere in the country. The chain is planning to charge only €25-€30 (£17.41-£21) a night at its new hotel since so many Romanians have low incomes.

Hyatt general manager of the year announced
Thomas D Smith, from the Hyatt Regency Hill in San Antonio has been named at Hyatt Hotels’ general manager of the year. Eleven general managers from 124 US based hotels were nominated for the award. Smith has worked with Hyatt Corporation for 24 years and has held various management positions with them in Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Minneapolis, Lexington, Kentucky, St John, Virgin Islands and Kansas City. He is now in charge of the 500-bedroom country resort and spa which includes four restaurants and a 27-hole golf course.

By Alix Young

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