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IHG CEO, Keith Barr, has made it publicly known that they are looking to absorb a true luxury brand very soon: “We are very focused on the sweet spot of acquiring an asset light, small luxury brand company or companies with a strong customer proposition, strong owner proposition that we can grow.” This brand would become the flagship of the company, targeting a different price point than Intercontinental hotels, which currently serve as the top of the IHG totem pole. When IHG mentioned an asset lite, small luxury brand it set the internet ablaze with speculation. Many thought that meant they would pick up Belmond – a true luxury hotel group, formerly known as Orient-Express, that manages many properties around the world as well as the Orient-Express train group. However, those rumors have been thwarted. So if not Belmond…
I have a few ideas
When you’re looking at uber top tier hotel groups you need to look at the following:
- Mandarin Oriental
- Rocco Forte
- Four Seasons
The top contenders in my book…
I think it’ll boil down to how luxurious and how small IHG ultimately wants their acquisition to be. Mandarin Oriental has been speculated, but that rumor was shot down, Rocco Forte is heavy on assets, as is the Peninsula. I can’t see them acquiring Four Seasons, Langham while targeting the luxury market has a relatively small footprint, isn’t exactly asset light in comparison with Rosewood or Kempinski.
I’d put my money on Rosewood or Kempinski
Rosewood is a truly 5 star hotel group. The service, prestige, and price point is WELL above Intercontinental. $1000 a night isn’t a crazy number for an entry level Rosewood room. Kempinski, on the other hand, has many resorts that are in the same category as an Intercontinental, but it also has a considerably larger presence and would work better with IHG’s current corporate mold. In my opinion, Kempinski hotels are a step up from Intercontinental and many of them are landmark properties. Rosewood is UBER premium…Kempinski I’d argue is nicer than Intercontinental, but doesn’t require the deep pockets of the Rosewood group.
- Uber luxurious
- Price points WELL above Intercontinental
- Manages 22 properties in 13 countries with 15 hotels in development.
- Asset Light
- Operates 76 5 star hotels in 31 countries
- Owned or leased hotels:
- Hotel Vier Jareszeiten in Munich
- Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin
- Palais Hansen in Vienna
- Grand Hotel des Bain in St. Moritz
One of the most Iconic Kempinski Hotels is the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi
What are your thoughts?