5 things to know: 18 October 2017
5 things to know: 18 October 2017
18 OCTOBER 2017 8:35 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Blackstone to buy HI Partners, 14 Spanish resorts
  • As California wildfires burn, hotels set bar for hospitality
  • Trump travel ban receives further setback
  • Work restarts on North Korea’s mega Ryugyong Hotel
  • Australian competition authority looks at Accor deal

Blackstone to buy HI Partners, 14 Spanish resorts: U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group, via its Blackstone Real Estate Partners Europe V, has agreed to acquire Hotel Investment Partners, which has a portfolio of 14 coastal resorts with more than 3,700 rooms around Spain, from Banco Sabadell for an undisclosed sum.

Alejandro Hernández-Puértolas, founding partner and CEO of HI Partners, said “Blackstone’s investment will allow us to maximise the value of our existing hotel portfolio for our investors and to focus on HI Partners’ continued growth across Spain.”

As California wildfires burn, hotels set bar for hospitality: Some hotels in California’s wine country have been damaged or destroyed by the ongoing wildfires, while others outside of evacuation zones are helping by setting examples for hospitality in the face of disaster, writes Hotel News Now’s Bryan Wroten.

One such example is the Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa, which has opened its doors, lowered rates and relaxed policies to host evacuees, as well as some first-responders.

“It’s now about caring for the community rather than revenue for the month,” said the hotel’s GM Michael Palmer. “What we do today will define us as an organization moving forward. I think that’s clearly the most important thing as we take care of these people.”

Trump travel ban receives further setback: President Donald Trump’s attempt to impose restrictions on travel to the U.S. from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuelan and Yemen has suffered another court defeat, according to the Los Angeles Times. A federal judge in Hawaii issued an order Tuesday blocking the ban, saying that it violates immigration law.

The ban was due to be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court on 10 October after it was partly reinstated in July.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu issued the order hours before the restrictions were scheduled to take full effect Wednesday, the Times reports. He said Trump’s proposed legislation “suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor: it lacks sufficient findings that the entry of more than 150 million nationals from six specified countries would harm U.S. interests,” according to the newspaper.

Work restarts on North Korea’s mega Ryugyong Hotel: Construction has restarted at the world’s tallest hotel, the Ryugyong in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, which first began 30 years ago but stalled due to issues with the project, as well as the economic crisis resulting from the fall of the Soviet Union in 1992, reports U.K. newspaper The Independent.

North Korean president Kim Jong-un reportedly has ordered work to begin again on the 105-story building, which so far has cost about £470 million ($624 million) and has yet to host a single guest, the newspaper reports. Locals spotted lights in the building back in December 2016, which sparked a flurry of rumors that the project would be revived.

Australian competition authority looks at Accor deal: The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, the country’s completion authority, has said it will investigate AccorHotels’ $1.2 billion Australian dollar ($932.03 million) buy of Australia’s Mantra Group that was finalized last week and is set to make Accor the country’s largest hotel company, according to Reuters, “with about 50,000 rooms and roughly 11% of the market.”

Analysts told the news agency the deal should proceed without any hitches due to the investigation, since the “market is quite fragmented and particularly if regulators regard newer rivals such as Airbnb as competitors in the sector.” There are some concerns, however, about how much control the combined company will have over certain markets in Australia.

Compiled by Terence Baker.

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