Worldwide briefing

22 February 2005 by
Worldwide briefing

Essential news from around the world…

Orient-Express buys St Petersburg's Grand Hotel Europe Orient-Express Hotels has acquired a 93.5% share in Russia's historical landmark the 301-bedroom Grand Hotel Europe in the heart of St Petersburg. Orient-Express will manage the five-star hotel, which has 89 suites. The Grand Hotel was built in 1824, and was turned into an orphanage in 1917 and then a hospital during the siege of Leningrad from 1941 to1944. The remaining 6.5% share is owned by the City of St Petersburg.

Danat opens boutique hotel in Abu Dhabi Danat Hotels and Resorts claims to have opened the first five-star boutique hotel in Abu Dhabi. The 110-bedroom Al Raha Beach hotel includes five royal suites, two diplomatic suites and four executive suites, with most offering sea views. Other facilities include three restaurants - with a further three still to open - four conference rooms, one ballroom, and a private health club with spa. Danat already operates two five-star resorts, as well as a cluster of four-star properties in Abu Dhabi.

German hotels enjoy revpar growth German hoteliers reported growth in revenue per available room (revpar) last year for the first time since 2001, according to Deloitte's latest Hotel Benchmark Survey. Overall, Germany's revpar in 2004 was up almost 5% on the previous year, with guests making 339 million overnight stays during the year. The country saw a 51% rise in the number of overnight stays by visitors from China in the year to September 2004, with stays by American visitors up by 17% on 2003.

Athens struggles with Olympic hangover Athens is struggling to fill its hotel rooms following the Olympics last August, according to the capital's hotel union, EXA. Occupancy rates stood at 56.5% between September and December - 6.9% lower than the previous year. The result places it last in a list of 11 European rival cities, including Istanbul, Barcelona, Rome, Madrid, Paris and London. Athens hoteliers reported full houses during the games (13-29 August), but averaged only 50% occupancy before the games in June. EXA blamed the threat of terrorism and a lack of Government investment in tourism for the slump.

Hilton to open fourth Irish hotel Hilton International is to open its fourth hotel in Ireland this summer. The £35m four-star Hilton Dublin Airport hotel will be the focal point of the new retail and business park in Northern Cross. It has 166 air-conditioned rooms, a restaurant offering Irish cuisine, and a function suite for 300 people. The opening is expected to create 150 jobs in sales, catering, management and housekeeping.

Shubh Hotels Detroit buys Pontchartrain US company Shubh Hotels Detroit has acquired the struggling Hotel Pontchartrain, in Detroit, for an undisclosed price. Shubh, a partnership based in Boca Raton, Florida, plans to restore the hotel and is currently in negotiations with Hilton and Sheraton to operate it. Despite all 384 rooms offering a view of Detroit River, the hotel has struggled to attract visitors in a weak downtown market. The hotel was put up for auction by the previous owner, Texas-based Highgate Holdings.

by Shirley Kumar

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