Owner of Great Northern hotel to expand portfolio

05 October 2015 by
Owner of Great Northern hotel to expand portfolio

The owner of London's Great Northern hotel could open up to eight hotels over the next 12 years.

Jeremy Robson divulged his plans for expansion prior to a party to celebrate the agreement for the Great Northern (pictured) to become the first hotel in Europe to join the Tribute Portfolio, the new collection of independent properties launched by Starwood Hotels & Resorts earlier this year.

Robson, of asset management company Ram, explained that work is already underway to develop a 65-bedroom hotel in the French ski resort of Courchevel from two adjacent hotels he has acquired, while a third hotel in Barbados is also on the cards.

With regards to other hotels, Robson said there was "no constraint on location" and that a second hotel in the UK was a possibility.

Robson said that the Courchevel hotel would be a good fit for Tribute, which Starwood hopes to see expand to around 100 hotels by 2020. The brand has currently signed up eight hotels: six in the US and one in Japan, as well as the Great Northern.

Michael Wale, president, EAME, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, said that the UK and the rest of Europe has more transaction than the US for an independent brand like Tribute Portfolio because of its larger pool of unbranded hotels.

"Independent owners like Jeremy want to align with the economic engine of the global sales organisation provided by Starwood and the customer base of the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty programme, while retaining the individuality of his hotel," he explained.

Robson said that while the Great Northern had been full and received a lot of critical acclaim in the two years since it opened, it had been tough to drive up revenue because of the high operational gearing within the property.

"Although we pay a fee to Starwood, going with Tribute will dramatically reduce the cost of sales, compared with selling rooms through the online travel agents," he said.

Robson revealed that future plans for the Great Northern include a gym on the roof of the hotel and a Martini lounge for residents on the first floor, adjacent to the Plum + Spilt Milk restaurant.

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