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The week in brief

08 December 2005
The week in brief

Hotel for pampered pets Japan's booming population of pets can now live in the lap of luxury in their own five-star hotel while their owners are travelling abroad. The Pet Inn Royal, which opened last week by terminal 2 at Tokyo's Narita airport, offers 170 air-conditioned rooms for pets ranging from 4,000 yen (£19) per night to 20,000 yen (£96) for a de luxe suite. Cats, dogs and smaller animals - including rabbits, hamsters and ferrets - are all welcome. Staff will be available 24 hours a day for veterinary and grooming services and regular exercise.

Brighton hotel sold for £3m Brighton's Best Western Hotel has been sold for £3m to property investment company Bond Street Estates. The 52-bedroom property on the Brighton seafront was bought as a going concern from Fine Southern Hotels. Bond Street Estates has agreed a lease with current operator Vienna Hotels to continue managing the hotel.

Visit London's 2005 accolades Park Lane's Metropolitan hotel was named Visit London's 2005 Large Hotel of the Year last week. Small Hotel of the Year was awarded to the Halkin in Belgravia, while Bed and Breakfast of the Year went to B&B Belgravia. Not surprisingly, the London 2012 Olympic Committee won the Outstanding Achievement Award at a ceremony in the capital last week.

Bates is chefs' guild chief The Craft Guild of Chefs has appointed Martin Bates as its first chief executive. Bates, 54, has been tasked with boosting the group's profile and raising funds to invest in the industry. Chairman Steve Munkley said: "The appointment is a significant step forward for the guild. It demonstrates just how dedicated an organisation we are and that we're serious about moving forward." Bates, a fully trained chef, was previously managing director at food processor company Robot Coupe.

W&D chooses food not fags
Wolverhampton and Dudley (W&D) plans to put food before fags in its pubs because it sees a total smoking ban as inevitable. The group expects such a ban would have little effect on pubs in good locations with a good food offer. In its annual results, W&D added that a smoking ban would make outdoor trading areas - available in 80% of its estate - more attractive. W&D posted pre-tax profits up by 10% to £90.1m, but, after goodwill and exceptional items, profits dropped to £47.9m from £70.2m (2004). Turnover increased by 16.3% to £597.3m, from £513.7m in the previous year.

Smoking ban is "backwards" The boss of pub company Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) last week slammed plans for a food-based ban on smoking in England and Wales, describing it as a "retrograde" step. M&B chief executive Tim Clarke said the company was committed to a food-based, non-smoking offering and would prefer the move to be "one clear and decisive step". M&B now makes more money from food than drink, serving about 75 million meals last year and smashing through the £500m food sales mark. Company turnover in the 12 months ended 1 October 2005 climbed by 4.6% to £1.63b, from £1.56b in 2004. Pre-tax profit leapt by 10.4% to £195m, from £173m in 2004.

Second Best for Pearl Pearl Hotels Holdings has bought its second hotel in the shape of the Best Western Gatwick Worth hotel. The group bought the
118-bedroom property for an undisclosed sum, believed to be less than the £8.25m asking price. The hotel, set in six acres of land in Crabbet Park, Crawley, West Sussex, has conference facilities for more than 900 people and a Cannons health club. Pearl bought its first hotel, the 99-bedroom Ramada Encore Swansea Bay, from developer BDL Hotels in June 2004. Pearl also plans to develop a new-build property in Slough, Berkshire.

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