The Hospitality Experience, launched by the Babini family, is Italy’s new hospitality brand.

“We wanted to enhance the uniqueness of our properties”

The Hospitality Experience group currently includes the London Palace Venice, The Place Florence and the Umbrian Borgo dei Conti Resort.

Carlo Babini Owner THE HOSPITALITY EXPERIENCE Carlo Babini Owner The Hospitality Experience

“We wanted to enhance the uniqueness of our properties, – says CEO and owner Carlo Babini, - creating a centralised, solid, and cohesive management structure on which to build future projects.”


Hotels in Venice, Florence and Umbria

The Babini family’s history in the hospitality sector dates back to 1938 when it purchased the D'Angleterre et Beau Rivage hotel in Venice, now the Londra Palace Venezia. The hotel, managed directly by the owners, has 52 rooms and suites and has been a Relais & Châteaux since 2012. In 2003 the portfolio expanded with The Place Firenze in Piazza Santa Maria Novella in Florence: a hotel with 20 rooms and suites, some of which have been recently renovated. The Relais & Châteaux Borgo dei Conti Resort was restored and opened in 2008 and is currently undergoing a major renovation that should be completed by the end of this year.

London Palace Venezia

A foundation supporting artisans crafts

The Place of Wonders foundation, founded alongside The Hospitality Experience protects and promotes the centuries-old traditions of Italian craftsmanship and creativity. The aim being to allow guests to discover the artistic and artisan wonders of the different destinations.  In Florence the foundation has a project centered on the goldsmithing arts, and funds scholarships as well as organizing visits to artisan shops and workshops.

Published in Hospitality

Egnazia Ospitalità Italiana, a new hotel management group, is the brainchild of Aldo Melpignano.

Aiming for 20 hotels by 2027

The Puglia hotel entrepreneur started in the industry in 1996 with the opening of the San Domenico farmhouse, but he is especially internationally renowned for his luxury Apulian resort Borgo Egnazia. His new venture includes some properties that belong to the Melpignano family. From the Le Carrube farm in Ostuni to the Santavenere in Maratea and the Hotel de Len in Cortina d'Ampezzo. There are also two openings scheduled for 2024: Castel Badia in Brunico and a property on the outskirts of Rome. The goal is to have a portfolio of twenty hotels by 2027.

“We want to preserve Italian hospitality”

“The big international operators are increasingly focussing on Italy and are buying or taking on real gems throughout the country, – explains Aldo Melpignano. - Egnazia Ospitalità Italiana sets itself the objective of supporting this trend. We want to make our know-how available to iconic structures and preserve Italian hospitality, which is made up of a warm and spontaneous welcome and strong links with the countryside."

Published in Hospitality

A 2023 target turnover of €50 million with an Ebitda margin of 35% for the Planetaria group, which is planning a further two hotels this year. The group closed 2022 with a total turnover of 42 million euros and a 30.5% Ebitda margin. 

A lean decision-making process

"We have 300 employees and 11 properties, but we are an extremely dynamic and flexible organization,- said md Sofia Gioia Vedani. Our administrative office is very small and the decision-making process incredibly lean, and I work hand in hand with general manager Damiano De Crescenzo.

“We want each gm to remain at the helm of his or her property”

Vedani says she gives decision-making autonomy to the general managers of the various hotels, enhancing, among other things, the link between product and territory.

“For example we don’t have a central purchasing office. We provide guidelines but not standards, giving the managers of our hotels the possibility of customizing the offer and respecting the spirit of the location. We achieve economies of scale in other ways. And while granting management delegations on specific aspects of the group's business, we want each gm to remain at the helm of his or her property at all times, so that they never lose touch with day-to-day operations.”

Published in Hospitality

NH Torino Santo Stefano rebrands and enters the company's upper upscale NH Collection.

The 134 rooms have been revamped

The hotel in Turin’s Quadrilatero Romano district is a complex of 8,000 sqm  and the guestrooms and public areas have has been restyled. The rebranding of the hotel has made it possible to revamp it’s 134 rooms, with new wallpaper and upholstery and warmer lighting. The furnishings in the common areas have also been replaced, giving a more modern and captivating look. And the hotel lobby has been made instagrammable through the use of plants and sofas in forest green and dove grey velvet.

The La Pista Bistrot is helmed by chef Fabrizio Tesse

A spinoff of the Pista, opened by Gerla1927 at the end of 2022, in the NH Collection Torino Santo Stefano, La Pista Bistrot now offers a menu by chef Fabrizio Tesse with experimental cuisine that combines simplicity with creativity.

Published in Hospitality

Risatti, Blu Hotels is aiming to consolidate in Italy, and 2023 is off to a good start for Blu Hotels, with turnover 20% higher than this time last year. 

The group counts some 30 properties

“By the end of the year we aim for an increase in overall turnover of around 10%-15% “, said the president and CEO of the company, Nicola Risatti. An excellent result compared to the €73 million reached in 2022, for a portfolio of around thirty properties. “In the last five years, thanks also to the intervention of CDP for the largest of our properties, the Blu Salento Village, we have acquired a third of the hotels already rented, and renewed the contracts of most of the others on a long-term basis.”

“We need to give more value to human resources”

For the CEO of Blu Hotels it is necessary to change the mentality of entrepreneurs in the sector: “We need to give more value to human resources. Our sector must try to be more attractive. It is certainly not easy, especially in a time of rising costs and with the huge burden of outside factors.”

Aiming for 6 to 7 months for the seaside season

Blu Hotels also has plans to extend its seasons. “In the mountains we are now able to guarantee a double opening, in winter and in summer – says Risatti. -For the seaside resorts, on the other hand, we are trying to reach seasons of six to seven months, so as to give continuity of employment to our best talents." The company is focusing on consolidating in Italy: “By focusing exclusively on Italy, the goal is to ensure stability in regards to turnover throughout the year.”

Published in Hospitality

As Mangia's Brucoli Resort in Sicily enters the Autograph Collection, the group's new strategy is taking shape, with a €90 million investment plan.

The €90 million investment plan with Hip (Blackstone)

The goal is to develop a hospitality business model following what has already been successfully done by some companies in Spain and Greece (the reference is to brands such as Palladium, etc.). Following the announcement of the €90 million investment plan launched in conjunction with the formation of the joint venture with Hip (Blackstone), comes the announcement of Mangia's Brucoli Resort's upcoming entry into the Autograph Collection (Marriott).

The Brucoli Resort will have 402 keys, five restaurants and two pools

After a complete renovation, the new Autograph Collection Brucoli Resort will reopen next summer with 402 keys, five restaurants, two bars, three swimming pools, several sports fields, a spa, and other exclusive services. But that's not all, said Marcello Mangia, president and CEO of the Aeroviaggi holding, as the rebranding of the Santa Teresa in Sardinia will join one of the world's top three hotel operators, with the choice due to be announced soon (perhaps Hilton, according to some rumors).

Brucoli Resort

Rooms in the Club Med in Marmorata Sardinia will go from 3 to 5-star level

Six of the 13 Aeroviaggi properties are included in the investment programme agreed upon with Hip. Following the €3.8 million restyling of the Costanza Resort, now Mangia's Selinunte, which was completed before last summer, interventions are planned this year on the Brucoli Resort Autograph Collection (€25.5 million) as well as on Santa Teresa and on another Sardinian hotel such as the Budoni, for a total of €60 million. The operation will total 835 rooms ranging from 4 to 5 stars. The renovation of the former Club Med Marmorata in Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean, will begin in October, with the ambitious goal of boosting its 600 rooms from 3 to 5 stars. Finally, in 2024, it will be the turn of the Pollina in Sicily. This is 25% owned by Hip and 75% by Aeroviaggi, while in the joint venture, the Sicilian group owns 25% and the company controlled by Blackstone holds the remaining 75%.

mini 20.02 Brucoli Mangias 4

“We’re looking at Puglia, Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast, but also at cities”

“Our development plans call for the joint venture to increase from six to 20 hotels in the next four years,” Mangia adds. “So we are looking at Puglia, Tuscany, and the Amalfi Coast, but we are also considering city locations, primarily for the purpose of opening boutique hotels or urban resorts. Starting with Palermo, where we have already purchased a building near the Teatro Massimo and will soon convert it into a 5-star hotel.” Aeroviaggi anticipates a turnover of €90 million this year, up from 70 million in 2022.

Published in Hospitality

Isaholidays is currently working on two new glamping sites in Veneto and Tuscany with an eye to nature lovers. 

Glamping between Siena and Chianti in Tuscany

"The first will be in Tuscany, in one of our agricultural properties in Casole d'Elsa, on the border between the Sienese area and the Chianti hills," says the Isaholidays Sales & Marketing Manager, Silvia Pagnan. The glamping site, built in accordance with the most up-to-date glamping concepts, will be primarily dedicated to nature lovers.

NOT 10.03 Isaholidays 2

An eco-chic village on the Veneto coast

The second glamping site is a small eco-chic village on the coast of the Veneto region. After ending 2022 with 600,000 overnights and just under 90,000 arrivals, the group is aiming for a 10% increase this year. “Our clients are mostly Austrian, Danish, Dutch, and Belgian visitors, particularly young families with school-age children up to 16-17,” adds Silvia Pagnan.

A track for bikes, roller skates and skateboards

The Pump Truc, a track for bicycles, skateboards and roller skates, the brand new 30-metre Sirio Junior accommodation with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a fully equipped kitchen, are among the new additions this year. An 18-hole golf course, a marina with 500 berths, and a tourist residential complex with 1,000 additional housing units are all in the works.

A Spray Park with games for younger guests

A 400sqm Spray Park with waterslides, fountains, waterfalls, and animated geysers is the new entry in entertainment at the Barricata. There is also a new baby-cart track, trampolines, and other games for younger guests, and the Safari Loft and Boutique, which has two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a third small room on the mezzanine, can accommodate up to six.

Published in Leisure

Inflation and the ECB's decision to raise interest rates at the end of 2022 have led investors to take a wait-and-see approach and, before launching new projects, they are monitoring the impact of rising capital costs on property pricing.

Although Assoturismo-Cst reported over 400 million certified overnights in 2022 (+38% compared to 2021), the hotel investment sector has not been able to maintain the growth path begun two years ago.

A 40% rise in the first six months

After an enthusiastic first half of the year, that closed with €755 million in transactions (+40% compared to the same period of 2021), the sector literally froze, states the Pambianco Observatory. This trend applied not just to the hotel sector, but to Italian real estate in general, with investors backing down, and the fourth quarter closing with fewer than half the transactions recorded in the previous year. With the high expectations for hotel investment recovery scaled back, total hospitality transactions in 2022 ended around €1.4 billion, a 20% drop from 2021.

Asian investors are looking for opportunistic discounted assets

In cities such as Milan, Rome, Florence, and Venice trophy assets are the top choice despite a very limited supply. Most European investors are expected to focus this year on core properties in Italy. On the other hand, a few Asian are ready to increase their investments in our country, focusing on opportunistic discounted assets so as to redevelop and reposition them pending an economic recovery.

The growing importance of the digital economy

In 2022 some 43% of registered investments went on four single asset deals, including prime resorts and operations in central locations of large cities. This year structural elements such as an increased emphasis on building sustainability, changes brought about by the growing importance of the digital economy, and the search for quality of living environments will influence the market. The new real estate cycle will thus be defined by three major factors: urban regeneration, space hybridization, and sustainability.

Published in Business

The Ritz Carlton will open a new hotel in Bellagio on Lake Como in 2026, thanks to an agreement signed by the Marriott International group and the hotel owner Grimit. 

The property is nestled between the two branches of Lake Como

The former Hotel Grande Bretagne will be converted into 59 rooms and 46 suites, with a wellness centre, an indoor pool, restaurants, and meeting and event spaces. The expansive lakeside park and gardens will include a meditation area, a large outdoor swimming pool, and a private jetty for easy access to other lakeside destinations. Located just outside the town of Bellagio and nestled between the two branches of Lake Como, the plan for the property will be one of the most significant expansion projects in the Lake Como area in recent years.

“Our family is deeply connected to the Lake Como area, and we are proud to be behind the The Ritz Carlton's debut in Bellagio,” says Emanuele Galbusera, president of Grimit. 


“The arrival of the Ritz-Carlton makes Lake Como even more appealing”  

“The arrival of the Ritz-Carlton in Bellagio, for the first time in Italy, makes Lake Como even more appealing,” says Marco Comensoli, head of hotels & leisure at Colliers Italia. “It was necessary to find a brand that could make the most of a prestigious property in one of the world's top tourist destinations.”

Published in Hospitality

The Pif Saudi sovereign wealth fund looks to be ready to acquire 49% of Rocco Forte.

Pif is expected to take over 23% from CDP and a further 26% from the shareholding family

According to the Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper, Riyadh's Public Investment Fund has beaten off an industrial operator (Lvmh according to other rumours. Ed.) in the race to select a new financial partner for the company. The operation started the end of the year under the guidance of Rotschild, and it seems that Pif is preparing to pay €76 million for the 23% acquired by Cdp Equity in 2014, to which should be added a further 26% stake directly taken over from the shareholding family. The group’s overall valuation is said to exceed €1.2 billion, well above the almost €350 million estimated at the time of Cdp's entry.

Sir Rocco Forte’s company owns 14 hotels and 1,500 keys

But things have changed a lot in the last eight years. Back then Sir Rocco Forte's company, which will continue to retain control after Pif's entry, was under financial pressure, and it had grown a lot, especially in Italy, moving from three to seven properties. Today the group has 14 hotels and 20 villas with more than 1,500 keys, plus 42 bars and starred restaurants. And other projects are said to be in the pipeline. 2022 closed with a turnover of around €340 million and gross operating margins of some €68 million.

Published in Hospitality
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