A number of hotel operators across the UK are continuing to invest large sums in revamps and new openings, raising hope that the sector is well set to cope with the ongoing credit crunch.
The Royal Horseguards hotel in central London, operated by Guoman, relaunched last week, following a £16m investment by its parent company, the Hong Leon Group, to bring it up to five-star standard.
Elsewhere in London, the Radisson Edwardian Bloomsbury Street Hotel, privately owned by Yasminder Singh, whose group comprises 13 hotels in London and Manchester, has just reopened followed a £25m makeover including a new seventh-floor studio suite.
Similar levels of investment have been witnessed outside the capital, despite reports that banks are refusing to lend money to hospitality operators.
The 19-bedroom Velvet Hotel is set to launch in Manchester in April after a £5.5m investment. The hotel is owned by independent operator Mark Cain, who owns the Velvet bar and restaurant on Canal Street in Manchester. Cain has converted the four floors above the restaurant, which previously operated as office space, and was financed by Allied Irish Bank.
In Northern Ireland, June Burgess, who founded property company Graffan Property, has invested £20m funding the 130-bedroom Fitzwilliam Hotel in Belfast city centre. The five-star hotel is set to open later this month and will be operated by Hotel Partners, a specialist hotel management company, which also runs the Fitzwilliam in Dublin.
By Gemma Sharkey
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