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There has been quite a bit of speculation revolving around this acquisition since IHG CEO, Keith Barr, stated they were looking to pick up an asset light, true luxury brand. Initially it was thought IHG would acquire Belmond, and I had speculated that perhaps Kimpinski would get folded into IHG, but alas we now have the news…IHG has purchased a 51% stake in Regent hotels for $39M. They’ll be able to buy the remaining 49% in 2026, and plan to take the existing 6 hotels and expand the brand into 40.
A little info on Regent hotels
If you aren’t a hotel aficionado then you may have never heard of Regent hotels.
- They currently manage 6 hotels
- 7 more hotels in the active pipeline
- Started in 1970 by Robert H. Burns
- Four Seasons and Radisson have both owned the chain
Like me, you probably know Regent from Pretty Woman
My awareness started long, long ago when Richard Gere’s character in “Pretty Woman” stayed at the Regent Beverly Wilshire. I also heavily researched the Regent Wall Street at 55 Wall Street, but the location shuttered its doors in 2003 after the 9/11 attacks. It’s since been converted into condos.
Regent makes a lot of sense to me
This acquisition is far smaller than what I’d imagine they’d target, but I think it makes a lot of sense for the brand, and gives them room to make their stamp as it grows. Regent has been a name synonymous with luxury, in fact, some of the most luxurious hotels in the world were once Regents:
- Intercontinental Hong Kong was once the Regent Hong Kong (and will be again in 2021 after renovations)
- Beverly Wilshire was once the Regent Beverly Wilshire
- Four Seasons New York was once the Regent New York
If you look at the price points of their current 6 hotels, they are expensive, but not stratospheric. The biggest problem with Belmond or Rosewood was the outrageous price point. Yes, the hotels listed above are mega expensive, but I’d imagine that overall Regent will be priced in between Intercontinental and Belmond/Rosewood. I’d also guess that points will be able to be used and earned at these hotels. That’s not official, but that would make them competitive with Ritz and St Regis – whom I’d consider to be their biggest competitors.
This creates a nice vertical integration of brand.
From Holiday Inn to Crown Plaza to Kimpton to Intercontinental and now Regent. There is a nice progression in price point and luxury as you climb the IHG luxury ladder.
IHG had mentioned potentially buying 1 or 2 hotel brands…
Maybe Rosewood isn’t off the table…Rosewood would be a nice competitor to say Ritz Reserve/Mandarin Oriental/Peninsula/etc properties where points can’t be earned or redeemed ( unless you know this trick) and goes after the ultra high end customer. With the Regent acquisition, IHG could still have a nice true luxury presence in the space to compete with Ritz/St Regis, but also target a segment of the population that isn’t traveling for business or loyalty, and just want the absolute best. Time will tell.
Current Regent properties
- Regent Berlin
- Regent Porto Montenegro
- Regent Beijing
- Regent Taipei
- Regent Singapore
- Regent Chongqing
- Regent Jakarta (opens 2018)
- Regent Harbin (opens 2018)
- Regent Suzhou (opens 2018)
- Regent Ningbo (opens 2018)
- Regent Hong Kong (reopens 2021)
- Regent Boston (opens 2020)
- Regent New York (opens 2020)
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