Malmaison is planning to expand into Europe, the USA and the Middle East after its protracted sale by parent company Marylebone Warwick Balfour (MWB) concludes, its chief executive revealed.
Robert Cook said that while the only way Malmaison could grow would be to take the brand abroad, MWB had shown no intention of bankrolling such a move. "As we learned from our recent sales process, MWB will not be investing in Europe," he told delegates. "Post MWB, the growth for us is in Europe, the USA and the Middle East. That has to happen."
However, Cook said there was growth opportunity in the UK for Hotel du Vin and the newly launched Pub du Vin brand.
"We're looking to double the du Vin businesses] in size," he said. "We're embracing the Pub du Vin concept. You cannot get 40- to 50-room hotels to work everywhere, but you can get 10- to 15-bed hotels to work."
Malmaison and Hotel du Vin will have 27 sites next year, up from the current 21, but Cook firmly ruled out franchising. "Franchising for a business as small as we are scares me because it would dilute what we're about," he said.
Elsewhere at the conference, Dubai-based hotel operator Jumeirah group revealed that it was planning a second brand in its portfolio. Chief executive Guy Crawford said: "There's an incredible demand for developing something different and it will be launching at some stage next year."
MWB delays Malmaison sale >>By Christopher Walton
E-mail your comments to Christopher Walton here.