Starwood to launch hotel in Syria and other international news

by Kerstin Kühn, Monday 5th March 2007 08:30

Starwood to launch hotel in Syria
Starwood is to launch a new hotel in Syria, with the opening of the Sheraton Aleppo. The newly built 199-room hotel is located in Aleppo’s city centre and 15 minutes from the international airport.  It includes three restaurants as well as two bars including an English-style pub. Leisure facilities feature a swimming pool, health club, Turkish bath and a shopping arcade; while conference facilities include four meeting rooms and two banquet halls, totalling 810sq m. With the opening of Sheraton Aleppo, Starwood’s portfolio in Syria expands to six properties.

Accor sells German assets
Hotel group Accor has sold off eight buildings in Germany to Grand City Hotels & Resorts. The move is in line with Accor’s strategy to sell the majority of its hotel properties. The hotels include the Novotel Bonn, Neuss, Düsseldorf Airport and Sarrbrücken, as well as the Mercure Kassel, Formule 1 Madgeburg, Ibis Dortmund and Etap Hotel Bremen. Similar to recent deals, Accor will continue to operate these hotels.

McDonald’s expands coffee range
McDonald’s is to serve specialty coffee beverages like vanilla lattes and caramel cappuccinos at outlets across the USA, in a bid to rival coffee chain Starbucks. The company is pricing espresso-based drinks between $2 (£1) and $3 (£1.50), undercutting Starbucks’ offers, which are priced at more than $3. The high-end coffee drinks will also compete with Dunkin' Donuts, which has widened its specialty coffee offerings and plans to roll them out nationally. McDonald's new focus on high-end coffee is consistent with an overall strategic shift away from its traditional burger-and-fries offerings and toward more upmarket food, like chicken and salad.

Mandarin Oriental completes sale of New York stake
Mandarin Oriental International’s wholly owned entity, Mandarin Oriental New York has completed the sale of half of its 50% investment in Mandarin Oriental, New York.  The Group continues to hold a 25% interest in the hotel and has secured improved terms for its long-term management contract. It said it will recognise a post tax gain of approximately $16m (£8m) in 2007. As part of the transaction, it also received repayment of its outstanding mezzanine loan to the hotel of $40m (£20m).

Subway to increase presence in Middle East
Sandwich chain Subway is to increase its presence in the Middle East and plans to have 500 outlets in the region by 2010. The expansion plan would equate to an ambitious 32% increase in the number of outlets. John S Chedid, director of Subway United Arab Emirates (UEA), said: "In the UAE alone, Subway registered a 24% increase in sales in 2005 and the 2006 figure is sure to be better. In comparison to demand our expansion is quite modest.”

By Kerstin Kühn

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