Travelodge to unveil big overseas push in Spain – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

19 November 2007 by
Travelodge to unveil big overseas push in Spain – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Travelodge to unveil big overseas push in Spain
Budget hotel operator TravelodgeThe Sunday Times](, 18 November

Malmaison boss plans overseas expansion and more smaller UK hotels Luxury boutique hotel chain Malmaison is looking to Europe, America and the Middle East for its future growth, chief executive Robert Cook revealed at Deloitte's European hotel investment conference. The group, which is owned by Marylebone Warwick Balfour (MWB), operates 11 Malmaison and Hotel du Vin sites in the UK and is expected to confirm new openings in Milton Keynes, Sheffield and London. As well as overseas growth, Cook also sees an opportunity in the UK for Hotel du Vin and the newly-launched Pub du Vin concept. "We are looking to double the du Vin businesses," said Cook. "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." In July, MWB put Malmaison on the market for a reputed £700m but delayed the sale earlier this month due to current market uncertainties. MWB had originally planned to sell the chains for £495.1m to Vector Hospitality, which would have been the UK's first REIT specialising in hotels, but the transaction fell through. - [Scotland on Sunday](, 18 November

Drought triples the cost of white truffles The cost of white truffles has tripled to nearly £6,000 per kg, with a 680kg specimen selling for a record £100,000 this week. Drought in the Piedmont region of North-western Italy, the main producer of the scarce fungus, has deprived it of the moisture it needs to thrive while other niche producers, such as Croatia, have suffered from similar arid conditions. Nevertheless, suppliers said that connoisseurs were still willing to splash out. Rudi Venerandi, owner of the Alba restaurant in London, said: "People who eat truffles aren't price-sensitive. It was never cheap - it just goes from ridiculous to the absurd." - [The Times](, 17 November

Scottish hoteliers demand debate on VisitScotland
Scottish hoteliers are calling for a parliamentary debate on their demands to bring Scotland's tourism website under public control. The Association of Dumfries & Galloway Accommodation Providers wants tourism minister Jim Mather to re-open an enquiry into the issue by Parliament's Public Petitions Committee which, it says, was "summarily" dismissed without proper discussion. A spokeswoman for the Public Petitions Committee insisted that it had considered the association's arguments when they were first raised in 2006. was set up through a public-private partnership in 2003 with a public sector start-up fund of £1.85m. Although national tourist board VisitScotland holds a 36% share in the site, it s run by private-owned company, eTourism. - [Scotland on Sunday](, 18 November

Caring plans to take Soho House global Richard Caring plans to pump millions of pounds into taking private members club group Soho House global. The former clothing tycoon who now owns the Caprice restaurant and catering business and society club Annabel's is currently in talks to buy a stake in the group with founder Nick Jones and a syndicate of silent partners. At present, Soho House has just one overseas venue, in New York, and has yet to make a profit. In the year to 31 March, it made a pre-tax profit of just £150,123 but a loss of £205,315 after a tax provision, while it lost £44,805 after tax in 2006. Caring hopes to make money by turning the club into an international business with new outlets in Chicago, Berlin, Turkey, Hong Kong and Shanghai. - [Sunday Telegraph](, 18 November

Robert Earl relaunches Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas London entrepreneur Robert Earl - who founded the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain which fell into bankruptcy after over-expansion - has relaunched the brand with the opening of the former Aladdin Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas as the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in partnership with Starwood. The 36-acre resort has undergone a $1b facelift that included theming each of the 3,000 rooms after a film and adding a piece of relevant memorabilia. "This is a resurgence, a re-launch of the brand and a launch as a gaming, lodging and time-share company," said Earl, who hopes to build Planet Hollywood casino resorts in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Macau, China. However, the resort does not have a Planet Hollywood eaterie as the name is already licensed to a restaurant at Caesars Palace on the Strip. - [Sunday Telegraph](, 18 November

S&N to unveil restructure to ward off takeover John Dunsmore, the new chief executive of Scottish & Newcastle, will this week announce the £140m sale of the group's French distribution business, Elidis, along with structural changes to make the company more efficient. The measures are intended to help fend off a hostile takeover bid from Heineken and Carlsberg, who plan to carve up S&N's assets, and to convince shareholders of the merits of remaining independent. The plans could include placing S&N's other European distribution arms into joint ventures with third parties. - [Sunday Telegraph](, 18 November

By Angela Frewin

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