Last updated: 03:00 AM ET, Fri June 05 2015

Looking Down Europe's Hotel Pipeline

Hotel & Resort | James Ruggia | June 05, 2015

Looking Down Europe's Hotel Pipeline

PHOTO: The nhow Amsterdam RAI will be the largest hotel in Benelux. (Courtesy of NH  hotel Group)

Hoteliers like to call it the “pipeline,” the line-up of coming properties that exist in every state from shovels hitting the ground to ribbons getting cut. Sometimes the pipeline allows for a glimpse at what the future holds in the marketing of travel as in upcoming properties in Amsterdam and Barcelona. In other cases, as in a new property coming to Sofia, we see a destination coming more fully into prominence. In Madrid we see a hotel being brought back to life with an entirely new face, though the building is the same.

The NH Hotel Group will bring its nhow brand to Amsterdam in late 2018. NH defines the nhow brand as “always evolving, adapting itself to the city where it is. Its properties take their inspiration from the most avant-garde cities in the world and are designed by the most creative minds of the moment.”

The project was chosen in a competitive tender by the City of Amsterdam and Amsterdam RAI. It will be the largest hotel in Benelux and will be located at the Amsterdam RAI complex, one of the largest exhibition and conference centers in the Netherlands. That will make 11 hotels from NH in Amsterdam. The 650-room nhow Amsterdam RAI will have 25 floors and should cut a major figure on the city’s skyline.

The nhow Amsterdam RAI will be the second nhow hotel in the Netherlands after the nhow Rotterdam, which opened last year. nhow is currently in Milan and Berlin and is expected to be in 12 additional destinations by 2018.

The ME Barcelona is scheduled to open in 2017. Located on calle Caspe, the 173-room ME Barcelona hopes to become a hub of the city’s social life. The current building on the site, the Hotel Barcelona, is being demolished to make way for the new 15-level building (five in the basement, plus nine floors and roof terrace) as well as a car park and retail outlets. OUA, led by Jordi Artigas and Fito Architects, will be responsible for the design of the project and construction management, respectively.

 Melia’s ME brand is designed to capture people who are psychographically attracted to innovation and design. Melia has already opened the ME London, the ME Madrid, the ME Cancun, the ME Cabo, the ME Ibiza, and the ME Mallorca. In addition to ME Barcelona, the brand will expand by adding ME Miami and ME Milan in 2015 followed by ME Dubai in 2016.

Bulgarian Emergence

The Swissôtel Sofia, will open in the Bulgarian capital in 2018 The hotel will have 200 rooms as well as 81 serviced residences, and will be part of Grand Kanyon Sofia, a mixed-use development. “Bulgaria is a thriving member of the European Union and a country that is focused on increasing investment and furthering its economic growth; entering the market aligns with our growth strategy and the destination is a wonderful addition for us,” said Jennifer Fox, president, FRHI International.

Swissôtel Sofia will have three dining outlets serving local and international cuisine as well as meeting space including a ballroom and a Pürovel Spa & Sport facility. The serviced residences will come in one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Grand Kanyon Sofia will have three additional residential towers, as well as more than 538,196 square feet of retail, entertainment and commercial space. This includes a broad range of shopping outlets, restaurants, cinemas, and extensive landscaped gardens.

An old dowager will get a new life thanks to a joint venture announced last week between Mandarin Oriental International Limited and the Olan Group, a Saudi multinational. The two entities acquired the Hotel Ritz, Madrid for $148 million and each will hold a 50 percent interest. In 2017, the hotel will begin a $103 million renovation that will essentially leave a new hotel standing in the skin of the old one, which first opened in 1910.

The renovation will overhaul all rooms and public areas, and it will add a spa as well as new restaurants and bars. Mandarin Oriental, which is investing a total of $126 million between purchase and renovation, will manage the hotel under a long-term agreement. The 167-room hotel is close to Madrid’s financial and commercial district and a number of the city’s attractions, including the Prado Museum and Retiro Park.

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