France to turn prisons into luxury hotels According to media reports in France, the country is seeking to convert prisons into luxury hotels in the latest attempt by President Sarkozy's government to cut the country's €1 trillion (£714b) debt. Up to nine jails are likely to be sold off, most to hotel chains, under a plan to reduce the state's property portfolio and generate funds for the Treasury. The first has gone on the market in Avignon at an asking price of at least €4m (£2.8m), with eight other prisons likely to be put on the market in the next two years.
IHG opens Holiday Inn in SowetoInterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has expanded its presence in South Africa with the opening of a Holiday Inn property in the township of Kliptown, Soweto, an urban area of Johannesburg. Built at a cost of US$3.4m (£1.6m) the Holiday Inn Soweto Freedom Square features 48 guest rooms, including two luxurious suites. It also has two executive board rooms complete with conferencing facilities, and a restaurant.
Starwood to launch W brand in JapanStarwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is to launch its W hotel brand in Japan with the opening of a new hotel in Yokohama, near Tokyo in 2010. Located in the centre of the city and less than 30 minutes drive from Haneda Airport, the 245-room hotel will include 10,000sq ft of meeting space as well as a bar, two restaurants and a spa.
Accor to launch Novotel in Pakistan
French hotel group Accor is to open its first Novotel property in Pakistan. The hotel will be located at Lahore Airport and will comprise 250 rooms and suites, restaurants, business facilities and a health and leisure club. Novotel Lahore Airport will be owned by Pakistan Real Estate Investment and Management Company and run under the management of Accor. After the Grand Mercure hotel at Karachi airport, the Novotel will be Accor's second airport hotel in Pakistan.
By Kerstin Kühn
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