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Ferran Adria to open new restaurant in Barcelona with his brother – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

07 June 2010 by

Ferran Adria to open new restaurant in Barcelona with his brother
Read the full article in the Independent >>

Debt-ridden Travelodge owner could be forced to flog off assets
Travelodge owner Dubai International Capital (DIC) could be forced to wind itself up as lenders are expected to push for a sale of assets to reduce its debt pile of $2.5b (£1.7b). DIC, an international investment vehicle set up by the Dubai government in 2005 to compete with Europe's largest private equity buyers, has asked creditors to approve a three-month extension to a $1.2b loan. However, banking lenders including HSBC have appointed accountancy firm Deloitte to advise on their options, which include a sale of assets to raise the cash. The Dubai government is unlikely to ride to the aid of its investment arm following the collapse last year of state-owned Dubai World, which had to be rescued by $20b of bailout loans from neighboring emirate Abu Dhabi. DIC was hard hit by the recession because it bought many companies at high prices during the boom years. The banks are expected hold off on any sale until prices improve. - 6 June, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

Buyers queue up as Maybourne Group seeks debt deal
Wealthy individuals and sovereign funds are hovering over Claridge's owner, the Maybourne Group, in the hope that talks to refinance more than £650m of debt fail. Maybourne was established when Irish property entrepreneur Derek Quinlan bought the Savoy group of top London hotels for £750m with loans from Anglo Irish Bank and Bank of England, selling the Savoy for £230m eight months later and keeping Claridge's, the Connaught, and the Berkeley. It is now talking to around 10 banks about restructuring its debt ahead of the December deadline and is holding separate talks with private equity firms and investors to raise fresh equity. Meanwhile, the group has received a number of approaches from investors keen to buy one or more of the hotels. If the refinancing fails, the banks could pass the debt to Ireland's National Asset Management Agency. Maybourne - which wants to retain control of the freehold properties - rebuffed the suggestion that the banks would be unwilling to refinance the loans and said the talks were "proceeding steadily". It added that shareholders were willing to inject extra equity if required and that the ownership structure was 'intact'. - 6 June, Read the full article in the Sunday Times and the Mail on Sunday >>

Young's gears up for World Cup boost to business Brewer and pub operator Young's is pinning its hopes on the World Cup combined with a hot summer to help boost its profits and has invested heavily in the outdoors areas of its pubs, which do very well when the sun is shining. "There's a feelgood factor," said chief executive Stephen Goodyear in anticipation of the football. "The whole nation will get picked up a bit after the struggles of the last couple of years. It's difficult to put a figure on it, but one would certainly hope it would boost our sales." The group last week revealed better-than-expected results for the year to the end of March. - 4 June, Read the full article in the Daily Express >>

Get aggressive with councils over allotments, urges Jamie Oliver
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has urged people who are keen to follow his healthy eating advice and grow their own fruit and vegetables to "get aggressive" with local councils that fail to provide new allotments. The latest figures show that some of the 200,000 people currently on waiting lists for allotments face a 40-year wait. According to Oliver, the Small Holdings and Allotments Act forces councils to turn unused civic land such as car parks and building sites into allotments if more than six people make a request. But he said people needed to "get noisy" with councils to see any action. "Nothing seems to happen in this country any more unless you're a bit renegade about it," he said, adding that people keen to grow their own "should go on to the Land Registry, identify council land that's doing nothing, then go to the council with a clear vision of what they want." - 5 June, Read the full article in the Daily Telegraph >>

IHG in the frame to run new 26-storey hotel in Leith
The InterContinental Hotel Group is thought to be among the front-runners to operate a new 26-storey luxury hotel planned as part of the £700m regeneration of Leith Docks in Edinburgh. The hotel, which would be the tallest building in Edinburgh, is to be sited near Chancelot Mill at Western Harbour. New plans for Ocean Terminal, which are expected to be submitted later this month, also includes two smaller hotels, shops, restaurants, a 6,000-seat indoor concert arena, and a berth for a military ship (rumoured to be HMS Edinburgh) that would join the Royal Yacht Britannia as a tourist attraction. The original plans for the area were ripped up by the landowner, Forth Ports, because of the recession. IHG (whose plans to run a 17-storey hotel in Haymarket fell foul of a public enquiry) faces potential competition to run the new hotel from groups such as the Jumeirah Hotel Group and Hyatt. - 6 June, Read the full article in Scotland on Sunday >>

Pop-up hotel made of trash highlights plight of Europe's beaches
German artist HA Schult has created a pop-up hotel in the centre of Rome made entirely from the rubbish washed up on beaches to highlight the sorry state of Europe's shorelines, and intends to recreate the event in other capital cities such as London. The five-bedroom hotel, set in the gardens of the Castel Sant'Angelo and open for just four days to 7 June, is made from jetsam such as plastic bags, fishing nets, skateboards, clothes - even a rocking horse and a mannequin's leg. The first guests included supermodel Helena Christensen and competition-winner Allan Thompson from Surrey, who joked he would award the hotel three-and-a-half stars on Trip Advisor. He said it had been a "great experience" despite the basic conditions which included chemical lavatories, sheets for curtains, light from candles and a leaking roof. The organiser of the event, the Corona Save The Beach campaign, said more than 4,000kg of waste per square kilometer was dumped or washed up on European beaches each year. - 5 June, Read the full article in The Times and the Daily Mail >>

McDonald's recalls millions of glasses painted with toxic metal
Fast-food giant McDonald's is voluntarily recalling more than 12 million Shrek promotional glasses sold in its North American stores after the paintwork in the design was found to contain the metal cadmium, a potent carcinogen that can also cause bone softening and kidney problems after long-term exposure. McDonald's insisted that the recall, handled through the Consumer Product Safety Commission, was purely precautionary and that the amount of cadmium leaching from the paint on the glasses was safe, albeit slightly above the protective level being developed by the agency. Some seven million glasses, made by a New Jersey firm, have been sold in the US since 21 May while another five million are in stores or waiting to be shipped. Canadian stores sold another 1.4 million glasses. McDonald's will post details of refunds for the $2 glasses on its website next week. - 5 June, Read the full article in the Independent and the Daily Mail >>

By Angela Frewin

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