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Forte Village reportedly changed hands in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The resort is said to be in the hands of a Kazakh businessman  

This change was reported by the Financial Times, citing as its source the Cypriot commercial register, which includes the holding company, Retivia Investments, that owns the Sardinian resort. The previous owner, Chechen oligarch Musa Bazhaev, had acquired the complex in 2014 for around €180 million. But on 25 February 2022, just twenty-four hours after the Russian armies entered Ukraine, he reportedly decided to hand over ownership of Retivia to a relative, who in turn handed it over in early 2023 to Kazakh businessman Shukhrat Ibragimov.

Various transfers of ownership 

The move probably served to avoid European sanctions against Russian tycoons, on whose list Bazhaev appears. It also appears that a couple of months earlier, in December 2022, Ibragimov transferred 40% of the ownership of an ordo mine in Kyrgyzstan to the Chechen oligarch: a venture launched in partnership by both businessmen in 2021, together with Ibragimov’s nephew Deni Bazhaev, and of which the Russian family is now the 100% owner.

“There has never been any change in the Italian management”  

Interviewed by the Financial Times, Forte Village chief executive Lorenzo Giannuzzi stated that “Progetto Esmeralda, the management company responsible for the resort, never plays any active role in changes of ownership. Moreover, the authorities, as well as financial and commercial institutions, have always been promptly informed of every transaction. In the last two decades, the resort has actually changed ownership at least seven times. However, there has never been any change in the Italian management, which has always ensured the continuity of operations.”  Neither Bazhaev nor Ibragimov have made any statements to date.

Published in Business

The expansion of the Hnh Hospitality group continues with an agreement for the former Holiday Inn in Modena Nord. 

The property has been closed since October 2021

The company led by Luca Boccato recently signed a letter of intent for the management of the former Holiday Inn in Modena Nord. The property, closed since October 2013, was acquired last December by entrepreneurs Michelangelo Marinelli and Gianluca Bonini. The latter is also the owner of Ecoservim Group, a company specialized in thermo-hydraulics and construction.

The inauguration is scheduled for the end of 2025

the hotel is currently undergoing renovations, with work expected to go on for about 18 months and the inauguration scheduled for the end of 2025. The renovation costs are around €15.5 million, including furniture, fixtures, fittings and equipment. Once the renovations are complete, the hotel is expected to maintain its original 186 rooms. Boccato has already declared his intention to re-affiliate the hotel with the Holiday Inn brand.

Published in Hospitality

Voihotels has taken over the Arenella Resort in Siracusa in Sicily and aims to close the year with a turnover of €200 million, an increase of some 20 million over 2023.

The 460-room complex will be upgraded

Last year the gross operating margins (ebitda) of Alpitour's hospitality division topped €30 million, or 17% of turnover (ebidta margin). Paolo Terrinoni, CEO of Voihotels, told the press the group has recently completed the acquisition of the Voi Arenella Resort in Siracusa which it had already been managing for some time. The aim now is to renovate the 60-hectare, 460-room complex and reposition it upwards.

An area for events for over 700 people

The restyling will involve the modernization of all rooms, the addition of a poolside restaurant bar, and an additional restaurant-pizzeria. Two new padel courts will also be added as well as two areas for young guests with equipped play areas, a larger arena theatre and a new multi-purpose area to host events with a capacity of over 700 people.

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The VRetreats brand has eight hotels and resorts

The operation in Sicily is part of a general acceleration of Alpitour's commitment to the hospitality sector. From 2019 to 2023 the Group invested €135 million to acquire new facilities and upgrade those already in its portfolio. Voihotels now manages a total of 26 hotels and resorts, eight under the VRetreats brand, four of which are already operational (Siracusa, Olbia, Cervinia and Florence), while for the fifth, in Lecce, is in the final stages of negotiation.

Looking to introduce Eritrea or the Comoros to the Italian market 

The goal now is to expand further, with a particular focus on the luxury segment and with Milan, Rome and Naples being considered. For resorts the focus is mainly on international destinations with plans to introduce Eritrea or the Comoros to the Italian market.

Published in Hospitality

The European hotel investment market is set to go on growing. According to Cbre's latest European Hotel Investor Intentions Survey, 70% of investors plan to increase their asset allocation in the sector, driving capital confidence in hotel assets. The good performance from hotels, together with the continuing expansion of the tourism industry and the stabilization of interest rates are all driving capital confidence in the world of hôtellerie.

Since last year Italy has ranked third in the most attractive destinations in Europe. Despite declining overall investment volumes, in 2023 hotel assets attracted more than 20% of the capital invested in domestic commercial real estate. 
And European investors are championing Italian cities with Rome and Milan in the top-ten, respectively in fourth and eighth place of Europe’s most attractive cities. This ranking puts London in first place, buoyed by the destination's long-term potential and expected higher levels of spending on inbound travel. Madrid has overtaken Paris to become the second most popular European destination for investors. Indeed, the Spanish capital is becoming increasingly attractive to global capital, with significant interest from Latin America.

"The European hotel market is incredibly dynamic and the results of the survey show a bullish attitude on the part of investors, who are looking to capitalize on growth in Europe,- explains Silvia Gandellini, head of capital markets at Cbre Italy. - In the first quarter of 2024 Italy was the second European market for investments in the hotel sector, totalling €330 million. We expect these results to continue in the second half of the year, with possible signs of yield compression for new trophy asset transactions.”

Massimiliano SartiMassimiliano Sarti
Journalist

Published in Editorial

Rumors doing the rounds say the Park Hyatt brand will soon double its presence in Italy with a new hotel in Rome in 2026. 

A 130-room Park Hyatt for Rome

This follows the Milanese property that opened in 2013. Located between Via del Corso and the Trevi Fountain and owned by the Israeli real estate group Omnam, the new property will be a 130-room 5-star managed through a management agreement and it is scheduled to open in 2026.

Hyatt’s Thompson brand will also open in Italy

Hyatt is undergoing a phase of strong expansion in Italy. In addition to talk about the new hotel in Rome, the Italian debut of the Thompson brand is expected this year also in the capital: another 70-room 5-star which was the Italian Communist party headquarters in downtown Via delle Botteghe Oscure. The property has been leased by a joint venture between Rossfin and the operator Ag Group, which has in turn signed a franchising agreement with the US company. 

Hyatt Regency is also planned for Italy

But there’s more for Rome as the former Radisson Es Hotel should herald the arrival of Hyatt Regency in Italy at the end of 2025, thanks to a rebranding operation by the asset management company Garnet Hospitality Partners. While in Siena renovations are underway on Palazzo Sozzini Malvolti which is expected to join the Unbound by Hyatt collection, again under Ag Group management in 2026.

Published in Hospitality

Mangia's resorts in Brucoli and Selinunte in Sicily get Breeam in-use certification.

One of the most important environmental certifications

The certification also goes to the Santa Teresa in Sardinia, and the award for sustainable building, had already been obtained in January by Mangia's Torre del Barone Resort & Spa. Breeam is an acronym combining the acronyms Bre (building research establishment) and eam (environmental assessment method) and is considered among the most important environmental certifications. The Bre group is a private British organization with more than 100 years of experience in research into sustainability and the environmental impacts of the building sector. It ensures environmentally sustainable design and construction standards, applicable to buildings, infrastructure and urban-scale initiatives.

Low environmental impact and more

Certifying a Breeam building therefore means guaranteeing a low environmental impact, the use of environmentally sustainable processes and materials, a focus on green building and design innovations, superior building quality compared to legislative standards, lower maintenance and operating costs, and high standards of indoor comfort.

Published in Hospitality

The  Italian hospitality sector remains optimistic despite international instability and high inflation levels that are causing some concern. Sardinia, one of the traditional summer hotspots, continues to thrive. However there are noticeable shifts in consumer behaviour, with bookings tending to polarize between early bookings and undated options, while the traditional August peak is waning, giving way to a surge in demand for the shoulder months. 

Summing up Sardinia’s trends for the coming summer Paolo Manca, president of the Federalberghi Sardegna federation said “the year got off to a strong start, with increases of 25%-30% in bookings in January and February compared to the same period in 2023. They dropped a little in March, and in April they were more or less in line with last year. Then from 25 April things slowed down, but all in all we are still 15% above the levels of twelve months ago.” 

The demand from international tour operators, especially German companies, which had been somewhat sluggish in 2023, is now driving Sardinia’s growth, and domestic demand no longer seems to be focused exclusively on the month of August: “This is a significant trend, given that 90% of demand is domestic in August, while for the rest of the season 51% are international guests.” 

Rates remain a delicate issue: “I think they will more or less confirm last year's levels. The issue again is the month of August. Will demand hold up? And it is not just a question of prices.  Guests are looking at alternatives to the traditional peak weeks, also because of the revenue quota systems on our island's most famous beaches that will inevitably lead to a redistribution of the anthropic load.” 


Massimiliano SartiMassimiliano Sarti
Journalist

Published in Editorial

For the first time the Terme di Saturnia format will leave its native Tuscany and offer its wellness concept in another region. 

The new property will be close to Trieste

It will do so at the Tivoli Portopiccolo in Sistiana, a short distance from Trieste. The debut property of the Minor brand in Italy is currently still at the soft opening stage, but it will soon be fully operational and will have a Terme di Saturnia spa. This was announced recently in Milan by the Minor group which presented  the rebranding of its Europe & Americas division, formerly Nh after the acquisition of the Spanish company by the Thai company in 2019.

21.05 Terme di Saturnia Tivoli 1

A nhow in Rome is in the pipeline

"Our group is now present in 56 countries, with a total of 350 hotels distributed between Oceania and South America,- said Minor Hotels Europe & Americas chief marketing and communications officer Isidoro Martínez de la Escalera Alvarez. -The name change was designed to increase synergies between our eight brands. Several other innovations were announced during the evening, including the forthcoming opening of an additional Tivoli in Florence and a nhow in Rome".

Published in Leisure

The DuoMo hotel in Rimini, a futuristic 4-star located in the city centre has been acquired by the former director and president of Condor, Leonardo Patacconi. 

The property was acquired by Patacconi at the third auction

The hotel opened in 2006, and was subsequently involved, from 2020, in a series of legal disputes that arose between the company that owned it and the management company. Subsequently the hotel was auctioned, with the asking price originally at €3.55 million It was not sold at the first or second auctions in 2023, then at the third auction Patacconi acquired the asset for €2.2 million.

The hotel first had a turnover of €1 million

Having sold the family tour business to the Uvet Group in 2018, Patacconi wanted to return to the tourism sector and also invested in startups when the DuoMo opportunity arose. When it was first opened the hotel cost around €10 million and when fully operational it boasted a turnover of some €1 million with an operating margin of 10%.

Published in Business

The first Michelin Guide dedicated to Italy’s hotels has given three keys to just eight properties.

Just eight hotels got the coveted 3 keys

They are the JK Place Capri, the San Pietro in Positano, the Corte Della Maestà, a boutique hotel with just four rooms in Civita di Bagnoregio, as well as the Umbrian Castello di Reschio in Lisciano Niccone, the Casa Maria Luigia in Modena, a project of Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura, the Rosewood Castiglion Del Bosco in Montalcino, the Aman Venice and the Cipriani, a Belmond Hotel. These are the magnificent eight in Italy: the establishments that have taken three keys in the first Michelin Guide dedicated to Italy’s hotels.

Rosewood Castiglion del BoscoRosewood Castiglion del Bosco

There are 500 Italian hotels in the guide

The guide, officially presented last week in Milan, includes about 500 properties, out of the 6,000 selected at a global level. Some 107 have one key, 31 have two keys and just eight can boast three keys. Tuscany is the region with the most hotels awarded the recognition: 32, including one with three keys, seven with two keys and 24 with one key. This is followed by Campania at 18 (two, five and eleven respectively), Lazio at 17 (one, two and 14), as well as Lombardy at 16 (seven two keys, and nine one key) and Trentino - Alto Adige (four two keys, and 12 one key).

Guides to more countries are in the pipeline

The Italian guide follows the French, USA and Spanish editions, with Italy boasting around forty fewer keys than the France guide, and with as many properties but more keys than Spain. Japan will follow on 4 July and other editions are in the pipeline.  

Published in Food&Wine
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