Alias Hotels

Telephone:

0117 957 6800

Activities:

Alias Hotels is a chain of city-centre boutique hotels designed to offer style at affordable prices. It was created by the founders of Luxury Family Hotels (a collection of four-star child-friendly properties in rural settings) to target the young business traveller niche.

To kick-start their expansion plans, the Alias management formed a joint venture in 2004 with GuestInvest, a UK pioneer of the concept of buy-to-let hotel rooms aimed at the small investor. However, the group pulled out of the venture a year later and put its portfolio on the market.

The Alias founders, who continue as board directors at Luxury Family Hotels, also moved into the overseas resort and holiday tour business in 2004 when they founded Four Winds Resorts and bought French ski chalet operator Meriski.

Key People:

Co-founders: Nicholas Dickinson, Nigel Chapman
Managing director: David Myers
Finance director: Rob Little
Head of marketing: Anne Allin

Commentary:

When Alias Hotels was sold to a joint venture between its management and GuestInvest in late 2004, it had not opened a new hotel for two years. The problem, said Dickinson, was not lack of opportunity but lack of funding. Smaller companies were barred from the traditional money-raising route of sale-and-leaseback because big investors were not interested in individual properties.

So he has turned to an alternative source of funds that was pioneered in the UK by property entrepreneur Johnny Sandelson’s GuestInvest, which opened its first hotel in London’s Notting Hill Gate in March 2004.

The timeshare-style scheme allows small investors to buy individual hotel bedrooms which they can stay in for a nominal fee of £10 a day and which the hotel operator lets out the rest of the time. Investors benefit from 50% of the revenue, an annual return on their investment of 5% to 7%, and numerous tax breaks.

Alias currently has the new-build Alias Ropewalks in Liverpool in the pipeline, and is looking at sites in London and elsewhere. Short-term, Dickinson wants 15 hotels under the Alias belt by 2010. Longer-term, he has ambitions to operate up to 80 Alias hotels in the UK, when he will then set his sights on Europe.

An update on the buy-to-let scheme was expected in September 2005. Instead, the group announced that LHM had bought out the GuestInvest contract and put the group on the market in search of a new partner.

Strategy:

The company aims to operate 15 Alias hotels by 2010.

Source: Alias Hotels

Operating Data:

Number of hotels: four
Hotel Kandinsky, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (48 bedrooms)
Hotel Barcelona Exeter, Dorset (46 bedrooms),
Hotel Seattle, Brighton (71 bedrooms)  
Rossetti hotel Manchester (61 bedrooms)

Number of employees: between 300 and 400

Sales in the first five months of 2004 grew by more than 30% to £4.2m, while operating profit soared by 56% to £582,000  

Address:

103 Farendell Road
Emerald Park
Bristol,

UK