Travelodge selling price likely to be £1b
The budget hotel group Travelodge could be about to change hands for £1b. The chain’s owner, Permira, the private-equity firm, held a beauty parade last week of potential advisers to handle a possible sale or flotation of the business. Permira paid £712m in January 2003 to acquire the business from Compass. – Sunday Times, 26 March.
Compass Group appoints new chief executive
Embattled catering giant Compass has appointed former BPB chief executive Richard Cousins to take over from outgoing chief executive Mike Bailey. Mr Cousins, who left BPB after it was bought by France's Saint-Gobain at the end of last year, will join the board in May as an executive director and take over officially on 1 June. – Daily Telegraph, 25 March
Planning refused for new luxury Irish hotel
Irish multimillionaire Jim Mansfield's ambitions to expand his hotel empire have been dealt a major blow after he was refused planning permission for a massive new Kildare development. Planners turned down the bid to build a luxury three-storey hotel and apartments at his Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course in County Kildare. – Irish Independent, 25 March
Hotel cleared for cancelling booking
A hotel reservation was cancelled when an "art exhibition" turned out to be a bankruptcy sale, a court heard yesterday. The judge threw out a €38,000 (£26,200) claim against The Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, by a salesman who alleged it had reneged on a deal to let him hire the ballroom. – Irish Independent, 25 March.
Whitbread bid to buy club of the rich and famous
Whitbread has emerged as the front-runner to buy Next Generation, owner of the exclusive Harbour Club. The club was frequented by the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and is now a hangout for west London's super-rich. Final bids for the company are due on Tuesday, and sources with knowledge of the situation believe they could top £210m. – Sunday Telegraph, 26 March
Scottish hotels may sack staff who smell of smoke on duty
Two hotels in Scotland are threatening to sack staff who smell of smoke following the introduction of the ban on smoking in public places. Turnberry, the five-star Ayrshire golf resort, and the Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa in Edinburgh have issued strict guidelines to hundreds of staff on complying with the legislation. – Scotland on Sunday, 26 March
Date rape warning over smoking ban
Scotland's smoking ban, which came into force on Sunday, could lead to a rise in date rape and theft. The warning came after several pub chains announced plans for a "bar tag" that would let smokers leave their drinks unattended while outside having a cigarette. Critics condemned it as 'stupidity or insanity' and an open invitation to criminals who spike drinks with drugs such as Rohypnol. – The Observer, 26 March
Oxo Tower restaurant sues for £250,000 over kitchen fire
A fire that severely damaged the kitchens of the Oxo Tower restaurant in London in 2000 is the subject of a battle for compensation of £250,000. Harvey Nichols, which owns the restaurant, is suing the kitchen designers for negligence and breaches of safety regulations. – Mail on Sunday, 26 March
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