UK sites are being sought for the development of two new design-led international hotel brands, Yoo Collection and Yoo 2.
The brands, from new company Yoo Hotels, mark the entry of Yoo into hotel operations. Until now, Yoo - launched 14 years ago by property developer John Hitchcox and designer Philippe Stark - has been focused on designing luxury hotels and high-end residences, working with creative directors Anouska Hempel, Marcel Wanders, Jade Jagger and Kelly Hoppen.
Yoo Collection will feature five-star, luxury hotels in iconic destinations, while the the more affordable Yoo 2 brand will be located in the centre and up-and-coming areas of towns and cities. They will both be developed in partnership with property owners.
Yoo Hotels is headed by chief executive Marco Nijhof, who started his career as a bell boy at the age of 16 and has gone on to hold senior appointments with the likes of Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts and the Corinthia Group. Most recently he was senior vice-president asset management for the Al Hassawi group of companies, overseeing 15 hotels in Europe and the Middle East.
Hitchcox said the launch of Yoo Hotels was the realisation of a business dream. "Our creation of this distinct brand offering gives a gravitas to what is an extremely important element of our business, and one that we believe will keep us at the forefront of our market. With Yoo Hotels we continue to create new trends in lifestyle that can be experienced, whether at home or when travelling."
London hotels designed by Yoo creative directors include Blakes, St Martin's Lane, and the Hempel (now closed).