John Brennan, chief executive of newly created Amaris Hospitality, has said the new business is "a hugely positive" move for the UK hotel sector.
American private equity group Lone Star is to invest £100m in rebranding and improving the quality of 89 hotels across the UK within the new company, which Brennan is heading, having previously been chief executive of Jurys Inn.
Comprising 15,000 bedrooms and 8,000 employees, the Amaris company is forecast to be worth more than £2b following the transformation of the collection of hotels. Amaris Hospitality has been created from three portfolios of properties acquired by Lone Star over the past two years including 29 Jurys Inn and three hotels under Hilton Worldwide brands purchased in January for £680m, 21 hotels from Moorfield operating under Accor's Mercure and MGallery brands, and 17 Hotel Collection properties for £323m.
An additional 19 provincial hotels, currently operating under the Thistle brand, will join Amaris on 30 July, following completion of a deal with CIT's Curzon Hotels and an agreed exit from a management contract with GLH. These will drop the Thistle brand and initially be incorporated into the Hotel Collection.
Brennan told The Caterer that there is no intention to create new brands, but instead the priority will be to review the entire portfolio to assess which existing third-party brands are most suitable for each property and rebrand where necessary. At the same time, funding will be put in place to refurbish and transform those hotels which have deteriorated in recent years due to underinvestment.
"Our experience at Jurys Inn is that with a good brand and investment you can transform a hotel that will then be able to trade above its competitive set," explained Brennan. "The creation of Amaris Hospitality and the investment that it will bring is a hugely positive move for the UK hotel sector, which in the provinces is currently enjoying ongoing revpar increases."
Brennan said that the investment would be focused on what customers require from a modern hotel in 2015. "This primarily means functionality and comfort combined with good contemporary design. Once these are in place, you then have the platform on which great service can be delivered."
Grant Hearn, the Hotel Collection's chairman, has been appointed non-executive chairman of Amaris. He said: "The new group will allow us to leverage the considerable scale and size of this unique portfolio of hotels and brands to accelerate its future growth and development and, we believe, create the UK's best performing, most exciting hospitality investment group."
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