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Europe Group opens Europa Royale Riga hotel… and other European news

10 May 2006

Europe Group opens Europa Royale Riga hotel
The Europe Group, a Lithuanian hotel operator, has opened the four-star Europa Royale Riga hotel in the historic Benjamins Nams building. The opening came some three-and-a-half years after the Europe Group's purchase of the property. The operator invested €10m (£6.8m) in the hotel, which will feature 60 comfortable suites, including 47 standard, six deluxe and six luxury suites, as well as a royal suite. The Europa Royale will also offer a sauna and a conference room with 80 seats, as well as a bar, hotel director Marianna Minigubajeva told the press. She added that a casino would open this summer. Well-known Latvian architect Juris Poga designed the hotel's exterior, while Lithuania's Jungtines Pajegos designed the building's interior, and Liesma Markova took care of renovation. Reconstruction work on the building was carried out by Re & Re builders. The Europa Group, founded in 2000, is set to open a three-star hotel, the Europa City Riga, in the Latvian capital this July, in which developer BBF Consulting will invest €6.1m (£4.17m).

Hotel occupancy up in Hungary
The Hungarian Central Statistics Office has reported that the hotel occupancy rate in Hungary was 59.8% in April, down from 60.8% in the same month of the previous year, but up from 53.7% in March. The average cost of an overnight stay in a Hungarian hotel in April was €66 (£45), up around 13% from a year earlier.

Estonian Radisson SAS hotel steams ahead
The Radisson SAS hotel in Tallinn, Estonia, has reported an operating profit of €6.26m (£4.28m) in 2005. The occupancy rate of the hotel's 280 rooms was 74%, and the number of guests rose by 3,000 to 110,400, compared to the previous year. Hotel director general Sam Holmberg has predicted that the number of hotel rooms in the city will increase by at least 30% by the beginning of 2008, bringing the overall occupancy rate down to 50% from the present 60%. He believes that hotels will have to reposition themselves by raising their standards.

Ex-Soviet Union members invest in Austrian hotels Investors from countries formerly part of the Soviet Union are purchasing hotels in Bad Gastein, Austria. Ukrainians have bought the old Gasteinerhof, which has been a ruin for some 20 years, in the town centre, and Latvians have acquired the Nussdorferhof. A spokesman for Cordial Group, the former owner of the Gasteinerhof, said that the sale of the old hotel had been a great relief, given its condition. The head of the Bad Gastein tourism association added that every investor was welcome, regardless of his provenance. He dismissed rumors that the transactions involved money-laundering, claiming that the investors were serious businessmen.

HTP Korali predicts income hike Montenegrin hotel company HTP Korali, based in Bar, is predicting that its income will rise by five percent this year despite debts of €800,000 inherited from the previous owners. Korali is planning to renovate Hotel Toplica in Bar between October and April, 2007 at a cost of €4.5m (£3.08m), making it a four-star establishment, and to begin renovation of Hotel Korali in Sutomore later this year.

By Jim Glenn

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