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We live in interesting times

Monday, 24 January 2022 10:47
Orient Express La Dolce Vita by Dimorestudio6 ©Rendering Orient Express La Dolce Vita by Dimorestudio6

It's curious how the world of communication can appropriate apocryphal expressions, or even invent them from scratch. Such as Far East which is often an inexhaustible source of aphorisms to suit any occasion. Because it is quite untrue that the Chinese character for "crisis" contains the word "opportunity." Just as there is no expression to identify interesting times with difficulty ones. That being said, in some respects we are indeed living in interesting times.

The pandemic, it goes without saying, has hit hard even here in Italy, and since the beginning of the year we have had a slew of hotel closures. Three so far in Rome, including the Majestic in Via Veneto, a true icon in the heart of the Dolce Vita; and the Admiral in Milan, famous for its collection of James Bond memorabilia. And these are probably just the tip of the iceberg...

At the same time hospitality here has never been so ebullient. Investors - real investors - are clamouring at our door, a growing number of global brands are moving into Italy, those already here are gearing up, and Italian groups are busy consolidating. 

In the last few weeks the big news was Blackstone’s entry into the Mangia brand, with €85 million to redevelop and boost the Aeroviaggi Group which is big in beach resorts. Up in the mountains the British private equity fund Icon Infastructure is on it’s way to Sestriere to create a new Aspen, just like the one in Colorado, in the Vialattea ski area.  

The German 5-star group Oetker Collection will make its Italian debut on Capri, while the Th Group, Gruppo Una, Hnh Hospitality and Starhotels are all flying the Italian flag high. Then there is the new Dolce Vita Train. After a deal with Accor the Arsenale project is now an Orient Express, with vintage wagons ready to roll along exclusive itineraries across Italy. We do indeed live in interesting times!


Massimiliano SartiMassimiliano Sarti
Journalist

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