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The Principal Manchester / Principal Hotel Company

InterContinental boosts luxury hotels in UK

IHG says it will become the largest luxury hotel operator in the UK after a new deal.

InterContinental Hotels Group says it will become largest luxury hotel operator in the UK, after a deal that includes the first UK properties for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.

IHG has announced plans to expand its luxury and upscale estate in the country, with a conditional agreement with [French real estate company] Foncière des Régions to rebrand and operate 12 “high-quality” hotels of 2,200 rooms and one pipeline hotel of 185 rooms into its portfolio.

IHG says it will use the InterContinental brand while also enabling it to launch its luxury boutique brand Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants in the UK, adding multiple hotels in prime locations in major city centres, including London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

The brand only has one hotel in Europe, in Amsterdam, and further expansion is likely to follow.

IHG says it marks an important step in its plans to take the brand global – building on the first signings for Asia and China last year – and “will act as a catalyst” for Kimpton’s growth in Europe.

“Starwood Capital’s sale of a luxury/upscale portfolio represented a good opportunity for InterContinental Hotels to expand its luxury footprint in the UK,” the travel business site Skift says in its analysis of the deal.

Death of a new brand?
Under CEO Keith Barr, who took over from Richard Solomons last year, Skift says, IHG has placed a greater emphasis on the luxury side of its business. Two months ago, the company announced a deal for 51% of Regent Hotels.

The properties changing hands carry Starwood Capital’s Principle brand which only launched in November 2016 – and at the moment it is unclear what the future holds for Principal as a name.

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