[photopress:alias_hotels.jpg,full,alignright]Swire, which as a holding company has a finger in many pies ranging from Cathay Pacific to Coca Cola Bottlers, is now entering the hotel business.
Although not much has been announced about it plans Swire Properties has said the hotel unit will set up and manage small luxury properties not only in China, but also in the UK.
The first property in China is called The Opposite House and should open in Beijing in June. Set in the Sanlitun district of the city, it has been designed by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. This is effectively a boutique hotel with 89 rooms and 10 suites.
In 2010, Swire Hotels plans to open a 100-room property in Guangzhou.
It is developing a collection of UK luxury boutique hotels to be launched in 2009 and has already acquired properties in Bristol, Cheltenham, Exeter and Brighton currently operating under the name of Alias Hotels.
This does sound the sort of place you take someone who is not your wife for a weekend. There is an excellent cartoon which has a receptionist saying, ‘Welcome back again, Mr Smith’ but we thought it inappropriate for these pages. Nor do we think it tactful to suggest that Swire should invest in the American No-tell Motel chain which allegedly thrives in the United States.
Managing director of Swire Hotels is Brian Williams, who spent 17 years with the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and was chief executive of the Scotsman Hotel Group before joining Swire Properties in January 2006. Which suggests that this has been at least on the possible list of investments for Swire for two years or more.
Swire Properties is understood to be keen to establish a portfolio of as many as 100 hotels over the next few years.
Source: Forbes and research