The first six months of 2017 has seen the highest number of hotel bedrooms opening in the UK since 2012 according to Hotel Bulletin Q2 2017, published this week by HVS, AlixPartners, STR and AM:PM.
Growth in hotel RevPAR [rooms revenue per available room] in all but two UK cities, double digit growth in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, and London recording an 8% uplift demonstrates that international visitors are still coming to the UK on the back of a weaker pound and a number of high profile events.
The hotel sector is well placed for further growth in visitor numbers with over 7,500 new hotel bedrooms opening during the first half of 2017, up 40% on last year’s figures.
Budget brand Premier Inn continued its expansion during Q2, with two new hotels opening as well as the group’s fifth hub by Premier Inn at London’s King’s Cross. However, Q2 also saw notable activity from independently branded hotels, striking an alternative to the more traditional hotel offer.
“Whilst there will always be a strong demand for branded hotels, we are certainly seeing a growing appetite amongst hotel guests, primarily those in London, for something a little different. Boutique hotels in quirky buildings with a strong stamp of personality and an more unusual proposition are becoming very fashionable amongst discerning customers,” commented HVS London chairman Russell Kett.
Typical examples include the new 252-room, five star The Ned, opened by Soho House in May. The hotel, converted from the former Midland Bank, boasts nine dining venues and a bar in the Bank’s former vaults.
In a similar vein plans have been submitted for a four-star, 214-room Hoxton Hotel in London’s Shepherd’s Bush with café and leisure scheme, a third London hotel for Hoxton Hotels. A number of designer hotels have also opened in Shoreditch, billed as London’s new creative hub, including the high-end Curtain Hotel and The Nobu Hotel, a first for London, although the third Nobu restaurant to open in the capital.
“A recognised brand name is less important in London as it’s a strong market. The new, independent hotels emerging like the Hoxton benefit from their association with Soho House for their restaurants and bars; and The Ned benefits from its co-ownership by Soho House,” added Kett.
There is also a clutch of luxury hotels in London’s hotel pipeline bringing new brands to the capital such as the Armani on Admiralty Arch, Raffles in the Old War Office, Belmond in the redeveloped Cadogan Hotel, and Cheval Blanc in the former US Embassy. In addition The Peninsula London, on Hyde Park Corner, due to open in 2021, will have the largest rooms of any luxury hotel in the city.
“This activity confirms that London is still a magnet for high-end global hotel brands and demonstrates that the hotel sector is adapting to customer demand and the need to stay ahead of the game by offering something on-trend and edgy,” Kett said.