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Worldwide briefing

12 November 2004

Essential news from around the world…

Four Seasons slips into the red in third quarter
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, which is based in Toronto, recorded a net loss of Cdn$11.1m (£5m) in the third-quarter of 2004, compared with a profit of Cdn$4.4m in the same period in 2003. The group, which operates 63 upmarket hotels around the world with a total of 16,365 bedrooms, boosted turnover from Cdn$72.6m (£32.8m) to Cdn$82.7m (£37.4m).

Shangri-La to manage Traders hotel in Kunshan Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has signed an agreement with the First Shanghai Group to manage a four-star, 387-bedroom Traders hotel in the centre of Kunshan city in China from August 2005.

African-American firm buys 37 Chicago Burger Kings CH James & Co, an African-American owned firm in the USA, has teamed up with Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group to buy 37 Burger King restaurants in the Chicago area from Sheldon Friedman for an undisclosed sum. It becomes the second largest Burger King franchisee in the area. The restaurants turned over about $50m (£27m) in 2003.

Orient Express buys Hollywood sanctuary in California
Orient-Express Hotels has bought the El Encanto Hotel and Garden Villas in Santa Barbara, California, for $26m (£14m). The property, which has 88 bedrooms spread across clusters of villas and cottages, became a hotel in 1918 and was a retreat for stars such as Clark Gable and Carole Lombarde. Orient-Express Hotels, which owns or operates 30 deluxe hotels, will spend $10m (£5.4m) on upgrading the property, which will close at the tail-end of 2005 and reopen in spring 2006.

Marriott opens hotel and conference centre in Washington Marriott International has created nearly 280 new jobs with the opening of a 225-bedroom property in US capital Washington. The Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Centre, which is owned by Quadrangle Development Corporation and ING Partners Holdings, includes 35,000 square feet of meeting space.

Wyndham International slashes third-quarter losses

Four Seasons Beijing Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has announced its third hotel in China. It has signed a contract with Evergreen Pte to manage a 300-bedroom property which will open in Beijing in mid-2006. The company already operates a hotel in Shanghai, and will open one in Hong Kong next year.

Kearney Inn latest recruit to Best Western The 39-bedroom Kearney Inn in Missouri USA is the latest hotel to join the Best Western International consortium, which currently numbers more than 4,100 hotels in 80 countries. All 2,300 Best Western properties in the USA, Canada and the Caribbean will offer free high-speed internet access to guests by the end of the year in public areas and at least 15% of bedrooms.

Strategic Hotel Capital reduces third-quarter losses
Strategic Hotel Capital, the US-based real estate investment trust that owns or manages 15 upscale hotels in North America and Europe, reduced its net losses in the third quarter of 2004 to $3.1m (£1.68m) from $23m (£12.4m) in 2003. Total turnover dropped to $85m (£45.9m) from $131m (£70.9m). The group's European hotels include the Paris Marriott Champs-Elysees, the Marriott Hamburg and the InterContinental Prague.

by Angela Frewin

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