Recent Articles by George

Turnover-based rents - a lifeline for hospitality?

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In the wake of the Covid crisis and its devastating impact on the nation's high streets, many UK landlords in the retail and restaurant spaces have moved from offering fixed leases to turnover-based rents, in order to allow struggling tenants to continue trading. Could the hospitality sector follow suit?

UK hotels expected to reopen on July 4

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UK: Prime minister Boris Johnson is reportedly set to announce hotels and bed and breakfasts can reopen on July 4 along with pubs, restaurants and hairdressers.

Can quarantine be quashed?

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The massed ranks of the travel and hospitality industry in the UK are mobilising to try and force a government U-turn over the 14-day quarantine for overseas visitors, which came in to force on Monday.

The urban divide

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As the UK hotel sector works towards a tentative July 4 opening date, there is a clear divide opening up between rural and resort hotels,

Event review: In Sync day two

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Global: With the International Hotel Investment Forum postponed until 2021, organiser Questex has launched In Sync, a two-day online event.

Event review: In Sync day one

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Global: With the International Hotel Investment Forum postponed until 2021, organiser Questex launched In Sync, its virtual equivalent, today.

Countryside concerns

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These are sobering times for hospitality worldwide, but the potentially devastating implications of the Coronavirus lockdown for rural UK businesses have been starkly spelled out by Limewood boss Robin Hutson.

Pressing ahead

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While the COVID-19 pandemic has seen thousands of hotels across the world closing for business, the construction of future supply is relatively unaffected, with many developers pressing ahead with their plans.

Changing agendas

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It's probably safe to say that just a few short weeks ago, the launch of a new cleaning standards certification program would not have been the top story on the BHN newsletter.

IHM launches Urban Living webinar series

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UK: International Hospitality Media (IHM), the publisher of BHN, has announced the launch of a webinar series in the run up to the URBAN LIVING FESTIVAL 2020: stay-live-work

Hotelisation: a two-way street

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Hotelisation has become something of a buzz word in real estate circles lately. But what does it actually mean and what are its implications and limitations?

Rebrand for Resident

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Nadler Hotels' decision to rebrand as The Resident is perhaps an understandable one, given the brand was so intrinsically linked with its founder Robert Nadler.

Sonder moves closer

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Sonder's move in to the hotel space has received a huge boost as well as a hefty shot of credibility, with the appointment of Frits van Paaschen to its board.

New territory

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It's fascinating to see Sonder - a masterlease operator of high-end apartment buildings - is now moving firmly in to hotel territory.

Drawing the line

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As the dust settles after the UK election result, it has become clear that the UK is going to leave the European Union, and soon.

No half measures

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As we have come to expect from Accor, when the company decides to do something, it doesn't deal in half measures.

Northern Powerhouse

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Manchester's newly burgeoning reputation as a hotel hot spot got a boost in November with the opening of Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs' Stock Exchange Hotel.

Meet and greet

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Accor's latest brand launch - its 36th! - is, on the face of it, another attempt to attract the younger guest.

Forging partnerships

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IHG's new partnership with Mr & Mrs Smith is the latest example of one of the major hotel groups offering their program members extra choice.

On the beach

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Hats off to Penta Hotels for getting hands on in its commitment to environmental issues.

Singling out plastic

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Isn't it incredible that Marriott and IHG's decisions to phase out single use plastic toiletry bottles will prevent 700 million plastic items being sent to landfill each year?

SiteMinder partners with HotelSwaps

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UK: Guest acquisition platform SiteMinder has partnered with HotelSwaps, a hotel room exchange programme for independently-owned and operated boutique and luxury hotels.

Nurturing talent

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Congratulations to Florence Alloing on her promotion to general manager of London’s Georgian House.

Locals only!

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• One of the main concerns around sustainability for both hotels and domestic consumers is the issue of food miles.

Thoroughly British

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• As the British pound continues to fall in value against the dollar and the euro, one positive development is the renewed attractiveness of the UK as a tourist destination.

Hyatt and SLH announce loyalty tie up

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UK: Hyatt Hotels Corporation and Small Luxury Hotels of the World have announced a partnership to add SLH properties to the World of Hyatt rewards program.

Hotel plan for Inverness office block

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UK: Hotel development and management company Axcel Hospitality plans to transform a redundant four-storey Inverness office block into a 76-bedroom hotel.

Prepare for the ice age!

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Former Apprentice contestant Jackie Fast talks to BHN about her mission to educate UK hoteliers - and drinkers - about Canadian ice wine.

A tip for Hilton's Chris Nassetta

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It was something of a shock to hear Hilton boss Christopher Nassetta admit that he doesn't tip housekeeping staff when staying at Hilton properties.

Serafina Group opens Turkish resort

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Turkey: Serafina Restaurant Group has opened the Serafina Mare Deluxe Residence, a boutique resort on the Bodrum Peninsula in Gundogan, Turkey.

The Athenaeum joins Pride of Britain

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UK: Pride of Britain Hotels has announced that the Athenaeum Hotel and Residences, on London’s Piccadilly, has joined its collection of independently-owned UK hotels.

BoHos 2019 shortlist revealed

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UK: The shortlisted hotels for the 2019 BoHos - the Boutique Hotel Guest Experience Awards - have been revealed.

The good folk

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• It’s great to see that the rebranding of TA Hotel Collection as The Hotel Folk has a strong emphasis on the people that make the company’s hotels what they are.

Wellness goes global

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• IHG’s acquisition of Six Senses shows just how seriously the major hotel players are now taking wellness and sustainability - the two pillars of the Six Senses brand.

What's in a name?

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• Defining what the term boutique hotel actually means is a thankless and probably impossible task.

Playing our part

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It’s heartening to see that boutique hotels are playing a significant role in the growth of the UK’s luxury (four-star and above) hotel market.

Tablet hits the road

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Michelin’s acquisition of Tablet Hotels is an interesting deal, and one which signals the arrival of a major new player in the hotel distribution landscape.

Under the influence

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Influencer marketing is a field where many hotels and hoteliers feel they are stepping in to the unknown.

A perfect storm?

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Are hoteliers being buffeted by a “perfect storm” made up of the OTAs and escalating costs?

Work, rest and play

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There was a a time, not all that long ago, when hotels, office space and private members clubs were all distinct and separate offerings.

Dream big

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It has become relatively commonplace to meet hoteliers who have adapted their property and grown their offering to cater for a customer who demands a strong focus on wellness.

Southern Comfort

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We’ve regularly written about brands from other spaces getting in to the hotel market, leveraging their position and following to attract guests to their hospitality ventures.

Keep it simple

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The Hotel Room of the Future at the Independent Hotel Show was a fascinating project which looked at, among other things, how technology could improve the guest experience.

Malmaison reveals refurbished Liverpool hotel

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UK: Malmaison has completed the most recent project in its multimillion pound investment programme - the refurbishment of the bedrooms and events space of Malmaison Liverpool.

Best Western opens first Aiden properties

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US: Less than two months after launching its Aiden and Sadie boutique brands, Best Western has opened the first Aiden property, with sadie’s debut to follow shortly.

Refinancing for The Lord Balfour

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US: Berkadia has secured a $13 million loan for the refinancing of The Lord Balfour Hotel, an 81-key boutique hotel in Miami Beach.

Building bridges

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Airbnb is certainly doing its best to build bridges with the hotel sector, even if it is against a backdrop of scepticism, and even hostility, in some quarters.

Take the Hyatt road

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Hyatt has been relatively quite in the boutique and lifestyle space over the last couple of years, certainly in comparison with its such as Accor and Marriott.

Limes Hotel changes hands

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Australia: The Limes Hotel in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley has been sold to private investors for a rumoured price of up to $6 million.

to reopen in early 2019

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US: Viceroy Hotel Group will reopen its San Francisco boutique hotel Hotel Emblem in early 2019 following an extensive renovation.

Hotel Bella Grace opens in Charleston

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US: Charleston’s newest boutique hotel, Hotel Bella Grace, has opened in conjunction with the completion and restoration of the Delaney House.

citizenM to open NYC flagship

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US: citizenM is preparing to open citizenM New York Bowery, a 300-room sister hotel to the citizenM New York Times Square.

Product portfolio: PMS and RMS software

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As cloud software and artificial intelligence have boosted the functionality of property management and revenue management systems, there is a bewildering range on offer.

NYX brand to make UK debut in Edinburgh

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UK: Israeli hotel company Fattal Hotels will invest £32 million in an Edinburgh development which will see the first UK NYX hotel and an existing Jurys Inn hotel expanded.

citizenM betting big on Miami

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US: citizenM has announced plans to open a 348-key hotel within Miami Worldcenter, one of the largest private mixed-use developments in the United States.

NPD opens North Wales hotel

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UK: West Yorkshire-based Northern Powerhouse Developments has opened its latest property – Caer Rhun Hall in North Wales.

Future stars

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• What does it take to become a successful hotel manager as the role of the job evolves and becomes more complex at dizzying speed?

Raising the bar

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IHG has certainly approached 2018 with all guns blazing.

The voice of hospitality

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Amazon’s launch of Alexa for Hospitality signals a sea change in the use of voice activation technology in hospitality.

Making waves

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Goodwin Gaw’s entry to the European hotel sector is likely to make some waves, as he is not a main known for doing things by halves.

The art of the deal

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Accor’s Sebastien Bazin threw us all a curve ball a few weeks ago when the company announced it was acquiring a 50 per cent stake in Sam Nazarian’s SBE Group.

Second time around

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I wrote recently about how the boutique hotel sector is incredibly versatile in the way it can take buildings and repurpose them, giving them a new lease of life.

Accor to buy 50 per cent stake in SBE

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France: AccorHotels will buy a 50 per cent stake in Sam Nazarian’s SBE Entertainment Group, in a deal that will see Accor invest $319 million in SBE.

Hotel Heureka opens in Venice

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Italy: Hotel Heureka, a boutique hotel set in a 16th century Venetian palazzo, has opened for business after a two-year refurbishment.

Oxygen Hospitality buys The Ivy Palm

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US: Oxygen Hospitality Group, a real estate investment and management company, has bought The Ivy Palm Resort & Spa, an independent, boutique hotel in Palm Springs, California

Russell House Hotel set for boutique revamp

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UK: Hong Kong-based investors have bought London’s Russell House Hotel sold for £3.5 million and plan to completely refurbish the venue and reposition it as a boutique hotel.

Feeling the BoHo buzz

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UK: Around 250 leaders in their fields attended the 2018 Boutique and Lifestyle Hotel Summit in London this week.

Nobu co-founders view Barcelona plans

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Spain: The co-founders of Nobu Hospitality, Robert De Niro, Nobu Matsuhisa and Meir Teper joined Jordi Mestre of Selenta Group to view mock up designs of Nobu Hotel Barcelona.

Heckfield Place to open in September

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UK: One of the most eagerly awaited hotel openings in the UK will take place in September, when Heckfield Place in Hampshire welcomes its first guests.

The Bradley completes refurbishment

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UK: Peter de Savary’s The Bradley, a listed Regency townhouse B&B in Cheltenham has completed a refurbishment and the creation of two garden rooms.

2018 BoHos shortlist revealed

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UK: The shortlisted hotels for the inaugural 2018 BoHos - the Boutique Hotel Guest Experience Awards - have been revealed.

Emaar’s Vida brand heading to Sharjah

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UAE: The Sharjah Investment & Development Authority (Shurooq) has signed a management agreement with Emaar Hospitality Group for a Vida hotel in Al Qasba.

Marriott to merge reward programmes

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US: Marriott International has announced it will introduce unified benefits across Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest from August 2018.

Up with people

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Recruitment and staff retention is always at or near the top of the list when hoteliers are asked about the challenges the industry faces.

Major merger

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• Good luck to those at the helm of UKHospitality, the new body made up of the merged ALMR and BHA.

The big distribution shake up

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The phoney war is over. Airbnb has sent a shot across the bows of its competitors that will echo long and loud in the hospitality industry.

ALMR and BHA to merge and form UKHospitality

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UK: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and the British Hospitality Association have voted to merge ands form a single lobbying body for the UK hospitality sector.

Come and say hello!

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It’s the start of another really busy period for us here at IHM, and we’d like to meet as many of our readers as possible over the next few months.

BoHos entry deadline extended

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We have extended the entry deadline for the 2018 Boutique Hotel Guest Experience Awards (The BoHos) until Wednesday, January 31st.

A double-edge sword

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The issue of recruitment and, particularly, attracting young people to work in the UK hospitality industry is one which is only likely to intensify over the next few years.

IHG signs first Hotel Indigo in Japan

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Japan: IHGA Hotels Group Japan, a joint venture between IHG and ANA, has signed an agreement with GHS K.K. and Daiwa House Industry Co to launch Hotel Indigo in Japan.

Compact and bijou

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Starwood Capital’s purchase of a stake in YOTEL offers further proof that the design-led, limited service value sector of the hotel industry is a red hot one right now.

Time for action

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It’s heartening to see the International Tourism Partnership publish its list of collective goals to tackle social and environmental issues facing the hospitality industry.

OTAs under the spotlight

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The UK Competition and Markets Authority’s decision to investigate OTAs could potentially be a real boost for independent hotels.

Back to nature

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• Experts may have gone out of fashion in UK political circles, but when it comes to getting planning for a historic building conversion, they are very much in evidence.

Melbourne’s Royce hotel up for sale

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Australia: The 100-room Royce Hotel on St Kilda Road in Melbourne has been put up for sale with market expectations in excess of AUS$60 million.

The tourism backlash

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European tourist destinations have witnessed a wave of protest this summer from locals who claim that increasing visitor numbers are destroying their neighbourhoods.

Autograph Collection announces NFTS tie-up

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UK: Marriott's Autograph Collection has formed a partnership with the National Film and Television School (NFTS) to create an inaugural short film award and scholarship.

Changing direction

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It took some friendly advice from a colleague at a retirement party to set Nick Davies on his way to being a hotelier.

All things must pass

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The one constant in life is change, as the saying goes, and it is a maxim that applies to the hotel sector as much as any other.

Look to the future

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An innovative new training program has been launched in the Cotswolds.

AA awards for Leicester boutique hotel

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UK: The Belmont Hotel in Leicester has been awarded two highly prestigious hotel and restaurant awards - a four-star AA rating and two AA Rosette awards.

Talking business: Alex Shashou, ALICE

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BHN talks to Alex Shashou, the co-founder of hotel operation platform app ALICE, about growth, the precarious nature of start-ups and having Expedia as a backer.

Food for thought

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There are a lot of restaurants these days, both in hotels and standalones - that try so hard to find a point of differentiation that they can become a little desperate.

Southbank fusion

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I really enjoyed a show round of one of the most anticipated new hotels in London recently, when I met Arun Kumar, the GM of The Lalit London.

Less pain in Spain

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In the years following the global recession of 2008, some European countries were hit harder than others, and it has taken longer for their economies to recover.

UK wine in sparkling form

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Those of you who live and work in one of the world's most renowned wine producing countries might be surprised to learn of the extent and the growth of the UK wine industry.

The lion roars

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Analjit Singh's Leeu Collection is shaping up to be a serious player in the worldwide luxury boutique hotel sector.

Dakota Deluxe Leeds to open on May 1st

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UK: The Dakota Deluxe Leeds will be the focal point of Evans Property Group’s £25 million investment into rejuvenating the Bond Court area of Leeds city centre.

Hotel EMC2 opens in Chicago

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US: Marriott’s Autograph Collection has announced the opening of its latest member, Hotel EMC2 in Chicago’s Streeterville neighbourhood.

Viceroy introduces three brand tiers

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US: Viceroy Hotel Group has segmented its portfolio into three tiers: The Viceroy Icon Collection, The Viceroy Lifestyle Series and the Urban Retreat Collection.

Raising standards

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Maybe there's something in the air, but it would seem that many of the biggest names in the international boutique and lifestyle hotel sector are getting a little restless.

Generating business

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The sale of Generator Hostels has been a rather drawn out affair but that shouldn't detract from what a great brand Generator is.

The invisible touch

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Service, and more specifically what constitutes good service in a hotel, is something of a moveable feast in these technology-centric times.

Stronger together

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Could the purchase of Worldhotels by Associated Luxury Hotels signal the start of a period of consolidation in the hotel sales and marketing group space?

Run the numbers

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Ally Dombey's feature about the challenges faced by hotel revenue managers in 2017 raises some interesting points.

A true pioneer

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David Levin’s sale of his properties The Levin and The Capital marks the closing of a chapter in a remarkable hospitality career.

Fancy footwork

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Signature Living’s announcement that it is looking for a site for a George Best-themed hotel in Manchester is the latest in a series of hospitality ventures in NW England.

Supplier spotlight: Law firms

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Having good legal advice is essential for any hospitality business. BHN rounds up some of the leading law firms operating in the boutique and lifestyle hotel sector.

Rock'n'roll stars

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The newly launched hotel collection RockStar Hotels is an intriguing prospect

The shadow of Brexit

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The potential implications of the UK’s eventual withdrawal from the European Union are beginning to crystallise, and there are ominous signs for the hospitality sector.

If you can't beat them

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Bespoke Hotels’ move to expand the Bermondsey SquAIR initiative to La Suite West is a great example of the hotel sector proactively responding to the threat of Airbnb.

Morning Star Estate up for sale

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Australia: The Morning Star Estate on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula has been put on the market by owner Judy Barrett.

Sir Adam opens in Amsterdam

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Netherlands: SIR Hotels has opened its third property, Sir Adam, located in the first eight floors of the A’DAM Toren building.

Accor forms lifestyle division

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France: AccorHotels has announced the creation of a Lifestyle division comprising the Jo & Joe, Mama Shelter and 25hours Hotels brands.

Design for all

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December saw the presentation of the first annual Bespoke Access Awards - run in association with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

No hesitation

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Discover Accor's expansion strategy and marvel at the team up of two British brands - London fabric designer Liberty and Dukes Hotel.

Chinese Home Comforts

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Chinese middle class travelling behaviour and spending patters within tourism industry. The Chinese domestic hotel sector is registering a rapid growth.

Tribal Behaviour

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Overview of one of the main discussion points at Sleep 2016 - tribe and the science of psychographics.

Talking business: Filip Boyen, SLH

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On the anniversary of his appointment as CEO of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, BHN talks to Filip Boyen about the last 12 months and his plans for the future.

ICMI to operate renovated Ury House

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UK: ICMI is to operate the renovated B-listed Ury House in Aberdeenshire, north-east Scotland, when it opens as a boutique hotel and spa.

Don't forget the basics

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Leonie Bulman of BDRC Continental raises some interesting points in her article about the hierarchy of guest needs.

Making the world go round

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Investment has very much dominated the news in the boutique and lifestyle hotel space this week.

Brand new

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What an eventful week it's been in the branding space, with some new names launched in to the sector that are set to make a big splash.

Supporting the independents

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Miranda Martin, the new director of the Independent Hotel Show, shares her outlook for the sector and her plans for the event.

Anbang considers IHG bid

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China: Anbang Insurance Group is reportedly considering a bid to acquire InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG)

What's in a name?

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Defining some of the properties in our sector has never been the easiest of jobs.

The lion's share

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The purchase of Linthwaite House by the Leeu Collection has confirmed something which I had a feeling about a little while back.

Hyatt launches The Unbound Collection

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US: Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced the launch of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, a “global collection of unique and independent stay experiences”.

New kid on the block

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A major new player has arrived in the UK boutique and lifestyle hotel sector, in the form of Singapore-based Frasers Hospitality.

Underwater world

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There is always a lot of debate in the hotel sector about the impact new technology will have on the sector.

Raising the stakes

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The clash between the British Hospitality Association and Airbnb in a meeting of the Business Innovation and Skills Committee raises some interesting issues.

A tale of two cities

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In the hospitality press, the Best Western rebrand and new logos will take precedence over the launch of the GLo brand, but the new arrival is an intriguing one.

A taste of the future in Bermondsey

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Our exclusive piece by Bespoke Hotels regional operations manager Robert Holland raises interesting questions about F&B offers for independent hotels, especially in London.

Ace in the hole?

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Ace Hotel is one of the coolest hotel brands around - it's not for everyone, but the people who like it, really like it.

Communal Living

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It's an illuminating experience watching the progress of Commune Hotels & Resorts, the San Francisco-based boutique and lifestyle hotel owner/operator.

Reaping the rewards

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At BHN, we cover industry developments from across the world, and are frequently wowed by stunning new hotels and flamboyant characters in far flung lands.

Changing of the guard

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The sale of the Old Quay House Hotel in Fowey is indicative of a growing trend, and perhaps also a symbol of the decline of traditional family-owned small hotels.

Consult the Oracle

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When a hotel is sold for a price that smashes the previous record for the area, eyebrows are raised and shockwaves of surprise, and fear ripple around the neighbourhood.